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BARD FREE PRESS

ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, NY

APRIL 2013

VOLUME XIV ISSUE 7


bard free press EDITORS IN CHIEF will “tiger”” anderson kurt “sprojsproj” schmidlein rebecca “werid musicl” swanberg

OPINION EDITOR arthur “peru maybe” holland-michel

NEWS EDITOR anna “wants to borrow your jacket” daniszewski

SPORTS EDITOR tom “good guy” mcqueeny

CULTURE EDITOR lucas “hummus” opgenorth

ONLINE EDITOR naomi “coffee cake” lachance

BARDIVERSE EDITOR leela “india” khanna

CREATIVE DIRECTOR emily “watches guys pee” wissemann LAYOUT STAFF will anderson emily wissemann COPY EDITOR emily “midnight shower” berkowitz

COPY STAFF katy schneider david giza PHOTOGRAPHY will anderson emily wissemann sam taffel sam youkilis david berg, dartmouth ‘16 molly livingston

WRITERS martin burcharth charles mcfarlane anne rowley stasha moreno will tilghman elizabeth pyle nelle anderson nathan susman anne rowley grace caiazza jeremy gardner alyssa freeman miles rodriguez lenny simon

NEWS [04] BARDIVERSE [14] CULTURE [20] OPINION [26] SPORTS [28]

cover by oscar tiné

photo by caity lee

[ TERMS ]

the free press reserves the right to edit all submissions for spelling, grammar, and

coherence. we protect our student journalists’ first amendment rights and accept

the responsibilities that accompany that freedom. content decisions are made by the

editorial board, and the free press will not print anything libelous or discriminatory in nature. anonymous submissions can only be printed if the writers consult with the editorial board first.

all articles in the features and opinion sections reflect the opinions of the authors,

not those of the free press editorial board or staff. responses to opinions are totally welcome and can be sent to bardfreepress@gmail.com, as can letters to the editors.

all letters submitted to the free press will be considered for publication unless

the writer requests otherwise. they will be edited for space, content and grammar.

back by caity lee

[ CORRECTIONS ] 1. In the last issue of the Free Press, the cover stated that the year was 2012. It should have said 2013. Fuck everyone that corrected us about this. We were so sad. 2. In the letters section, Gaby Philo’s name was misspelled, but it was spelled correctly three other times in much smaller font. 3. In the photo credit for the article titled, “Ultimate (with a Frisbee) @ Bard and Beyond,” John Doelp’s name was misspelled.


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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: SAVE LONGY

The famous American composer Elliot Carter is just one of many renowned musicians who studied at the preparatory program at the Longy School of Music in Cambridge before going on to become maestros in their fields. In early April, the Longy administration abruptly decided to close down the 100-year-old community program for 700 children and more than 200 adults that Carter once was part of. The decision was taken without any prior consultation with the music community. It was approved by Longy’s new owner, Bard College. The closing of the Longy community programs is a devastating loss for the students and the valuable music community that has built up around the Longy School since its founding in 1915. In the weeks that followed, a committee set up by parents and adult students has been trying to save the community programs by going to the media, protesting each Saturday with signs outside the school, and trying to get a dialogue going with Bard president Leon Botstein. Although there has been some progress, the endeavour has proven to be arduous. But there is still hope that President Botstein will be open to intervene and help in some way to save the preparatory and continuing studies division at Longy. What is so perplexing to the Boston music community is that the reasons laid out by the Longy administration and President Botstein do not make sense on their own terms, unless one is willing to suspend common sense and believe in fairy tales. But this is not fiction. It is first and foremost about educating this country’s children in the art of (mostly classical) music. It is about the role that schools and universities should play in the general education of future generations. And, regrettably, it is also about how schools and universities, like big box stores, can destroy local communities as they expand. Seen from Cambridge, the fight to keep the community program is about preserving a musical legacy and building on it to expand and make available, to as many children and youths as possible, an education in music. At Longy, a music education was not just an individual effort but also about becoming an amateur or professional musician within a community. This is what was so unique about Longy—all the famous and not-so-famous alumni of the school. Indeed, the list of Longy students who carried this experience into the world of music is impressive and long. Some of them started learning music as small children at the Longy School. Among them we find the composer Richard Cornell, the New York Met’s principal cellist Jerome Grossman, and the pianist Anton Kuerti. The concert pianist and maestro Victor Rosenbaum, who was president and director of the Longy School of Music for almost two decades, told me that Longy celebrated its 80th birthday in 1988 with a concert of Elliot Carter’s music. “Carter told me that those musical studies at Longy in the 1920’s, while he was an undergraduate at Harvard, had been the most important in

his life up to that time,” said Rosenbaum. Carter died in 2012 at the age of 103. Of course, without the dedicated and talented teachers, some of whom come from abroad, Longy’s community programs would amount to nothing. But in one fell swoop, 54 of the 84 staff teachers were fired in an email on March 6. Again, the explanation for the closure was mystifying. As reported in this paper, the Bard Free Press, Longy President Karen Zorn cited a need to “support the continuing growth of our conservatory and address our critical need for practice and teaching space.” But just four years ago, Zorn commissioned a study of space problems at Longy; it found there was no problem at all. In the meantime, enrollment of conservatory students has basically remained flat while the number of students in the community programs has fallen to 900. What is even more mystifying is that the community programs are actually profitable. Perhaps the reason Bard acquired Longy is an ambition to expand the conservatory programs. Music teachers and professors at universities in Boston are doubtful, though, that Bard would be able to accomplish this feat. There are already three top-notch conservatory schools in the area. Another theory is that a recent cooperative agreement between Bard/Longy and the El Sistema program in Venezuela to educate its teachers, who are employed to bring music learning to underprivileged kids, is meant to replace community programs at Longy. The initiative is called “Take a Stand.” This is definitely a worthy goal, but there wouldn’t be many El Sistema MAT students taught at Longy’s facilities. And how about the need to keep and expand an audience for classical music? That, if nothing else, is exactly what community programs do. No convincing reason has been given why training more students in Longy’s conservatory program justifies discontinuing the very kind of ensembles and community they are being taught how to establish. Interviewed recently in the Boston Globe, president Botstein said, “We had no role in the decision … Am I upset by people believing fictions? Yeah, that’s the same problem with people believing evolution isn’t true. There is a truth, and there is fiction. And the truth is that Longy runs autonomously. We never took them over.” This is a mystifying statement. Legally, Longy became part of Bard College in 2012. On Longy’s Board of Governors, Botstein is listed as the CEO of the school. The parents’ committee strongly believes that somewhere along the way, President Botstein was misinformed about the situation at Longy and/or miscalculated the consequences of closing down the esteemed community programs. That is why we have appealed in a letter to him to engage in a dialogue. So far we have received no response. We are still waiting. Martin Burcharth is a journalist and member of the Steering Committee of the Longy Community Action group, which was formed to save the community programs at the Longy School of Music of Bard College.


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*Subject: by rebecca swanberg

THE FUTURE BARD CLASSROOM

Your New Discussion Topic Despite what you may have read on the Student Government Facebook Page, classes are not going to be moved to 30 to 80 percent online. It was only an exploratory discussion hosted by a committee at the Board of Trustees meeting. A discussion held by a group of trusted faculty who pull insight from their experiences in humanities, pedagogy, and technology, and recognized the need for a discussion like this one. A group of professors who noticed the buzz in the educational sphere around online integrated learning and decided that they needed to have a conversation about where they saw it fitting into Bard. Senior Cara Black, President of Student Government Association, attended the Board of Trustees meeting on April 3. Two days later, she posted a report about the meeting on the Student Government Facebook page, where she explained the aforementioned discussion. But her explanation was met with a strong student reaction. “I knew there would be a backlash when I posted about this on the Student Government Facebook page,” Black said. “There is a gut reaction when you hear that they will change the way that classes are run.” In her statement on Facebook, Black explained that “the college is interested in the possibility of incorporating online learning into our coursework,” and mentioned the possibility of future classes being 30 to 80 percent online. She says that what she wrote came directly from a handout given to the trustees at the meeting by Jeff Katz, Dean of Information Services and Director of Libraries. It was a stapled packet detailing the mission of the Blended Learning Committee at Bard and the people involved in the committee. The name— Blended Learning Committee—is derived from the formal education program called Blended Learning, a program where students’ work is partially online, and partially face-to-face. “I was delivering [the information] exactly how I saw it without any bias, and because [the conversation regarding Blended Learning] was confusing at the meeting, there was some confusion in how it was communicated,” Black said. After hearing of the outcry from students who read about Bard’s potential utilization of Blended Learning, Maria Cecire, Assistant Professor of Literature and Director of Experimental Humanities, said that faculty completely agree with students. When it comes to the official definition of Blending Learning, a course with 30 to 80 percent of course material online, Bard isn’t interested. The discussion began when Vice President and Dean of the College Michèle Dominy commissioned Assistant Professor of Computer Science Keith O’Hara and Director of Learning Commons Jim Keller to start a conversation about the possibilities for online learning at

Bard. They brought a committee together and compiled some questions regarding “emerging technologies and the Bard experience,” according to Katz. They then brought this information to the Board of Trustees meeting. Cecire said that there was a desire for the trustees to have a sense of what is happening with technology and pedagogy at Bard and at Bard’s affiliate schools. The faculty that presented at the meeting all brought different angles to the conversation, coming from their own areas of expertise. “[At the meeting,] I talked about theory and context and about how the digital affects students’ everyday lives,” Cecire said. Cecire is in charge of the new Experimental Humanities concentration, which works with a lot of the ideas Cecire brought up at the meeting. “It’s not just about one moment in technology, it is about how technology has always mediated what it means to be human.” According to Cecire, the backlash by students on Facebook, which was mostly in response to the “30 to 80 percent” figure, was unfounded—Keller wasn’t necessarily advocating for Blended Learning, he was explaining the findings of this new committee, research they have been gathering since last fall. “This report was pretty much aimed at what we mean by ‘academic technology,’ when we talk about technology at Bard, and what kind of things we can imagine using it for,” Katz said. Most of the discussion was an exploration of an idea, which is what they tried to portray at the meeting. According to Black, the conversation seemed largely philosophical. “Originally, the committee was exploratory because these conversations are so dominant in the public sphere, especially in the educational discourse sphere. Each school has to have a sense of institutional identity, and we were put together to figure out where we stand,” Cecire said. Cecire was heartened by the committee’s findings, in the end. She’d heard about a lot of schools investing completely in online learning to make higher education cheaper for the masses. Discussions were going forward in a way that assumed online education’s inherent lack of a price tag. But though an online course is invisible and free for the consumer, she said, someone is always behind it, and they need to be paid. “Online learning courses will either make higher education more accessible because everyone can get it, or it will be destructive—separating who can get one-on-one education and forcing others to click their way through higher education,” Cecire said. Cecire said that a program called Massively Open Online Courses was facilitating these huge, free courses, allowing anyone to register, though many don’t complete the course.

These programs, however, have no place at Bard, and neither do most traditional Blended Learning courses, she said, and students can assuage any fears of that happening. “The kind of teaching that we do at Bard is not replaceable by these technologies,” Cecire said. ‘They may be supplemented by doing readings online, but my opinion is that since the Classical Period, we have never been able to replace people in dialogue with people, interpersonal relations, understanding the person you’re speaking to, and seeing how they are developing.” Katz agreed that replacing face-to-face learning with online education doesn’t seem feasible at Bard. Instead, with the committee’s findings, they hope to supplement class time with materials and exercises online. “There’s never going to be a situation at this campus where there is any less class time,” Katz said. “So every class that is three hours or two hours will meet for every one of those minutes.” The integration of Blended Learning into Bard curriculum probably wouldn’t change much at face value. According to Cecire, many professors already integrate online learning into their curriculum by using programs like Moodle, requiring responses outside of class, or giving students online readings. Where the committee sees changes happening is in Bard’s connection with sister colleges in other countries. By utilizing technological advancements and online communication, the committee hopes to bring the satellite colleges closer. “We can’t send all of our students abroad, but we can do things like Skype, do projects online with students in other countries, and bring the product back to our own class time,” Cecire said. Katz said that “online distant delivery,” i.e. talking to students abroad over the internet, has been used in a rudimentary way with Smolny College, Al Quuds University, Queens Bard High School Early College, and a few other places. In addition, Bard has one Blended Learning course for students in the MBA in Sustainability program, which is a lowresidence program. They use video web conferencing six hours a week for students who aren’t on campus. The committee hopes that in using Blended Learning to achieve goals like these—bringing students closer to Bard even when they aren’t there physically—the college can become a forerunner in integrative learning. “We’re trying to position ourselves so that Bard can hopefully be a leader,” Cecire said. “We want to be thoughtful and intentional about how we use our technology in developing pedagogy to further the way of learning rather than replacing with information transfer.”

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WE’RE POOR BY ANNE ROWLEY

“Bard’s Fiscal Cliff—The Day Tuition Runs Out,” a presentation on April 11, focused on Bard’s endowment, or rather, the lack thereof. The presentation was lead by a panel that consisted of Executive Assistant to the Executive Vice President Taun Toay ‘05, and Vice President of Administration Jim Brudvig, and was intended to “demystify Bard’s finances.” The process of demystification, which lasted for about two hours, began with an explanation of the “gap period” that Bard is now entering. This gap period, which happens every year, is the time in which Bard runs solely on money from donors. Tuition funds can only run the college through part of the year. The school is expected to enter this period sometime next week. It was with this added sense of urgency that Toay and Brudvig began to explain Bard’s financial situation and address the “many misconceptions about what funds are used for.” Brudvig cited Bard’s financial woes as “particularly daunting” for two reasons. The first reason is the low rate of alumni/ae giving. This was attributed in part to a relatively young alumni base. Fifty percent of living alumni have graduated within the past 20 years, are early in their careers and are consequently hesitant to donate. The lack of alumni/ae donations is directly related to the second

reason why Bard’s financial situation is precarious: the lack of endowment. The endowment was described by Brudvig as “virtually nonexistent” and by Toay as “embarrassing.” While this can be attributed to a lack of alumni giving, it can also be explained by the decisions of the college itself. Due to low funds, the college has not had the ability to grow its money in the manner it would like. “We would love to be in the position of reinvesting, but we aren’t,” Brudvig said. The college’s inability to reinvest can

expressed his hope for a happy medium between the pressure and freedom: “We’ll never lose our charm, spirit, or creativity, but we will have an endowment.” Following the explanation of the problems that the college is facing, Brudvig and Toay got down to the specifics of Bard’s finances. There were several pie charts drawn on the chalkboards to break down the college’s income and how it is allocated. The pie chart that illustrated Bard’s income showed that 80 percent was tuition,

“If you learn one thing from this, it’s that you should give us your money even after you leave here.” be seen as both a blessing and a burden. It allows Bard the capacity to take risks, such as building its presence across the globe at institutions like Al-Quds or ECLA. “It gives us a kind of freedom to try new things and see what works,” Brudvig said. At the same time, Toay and Brudvig maintained the importance of building up an endowment fund. Without an endowment, Bard lacks financial security, and tremendous pressure is placed on the school during times like this upcoming gap p e r i o d . Brudvig

a small fraction was the funds raised by programs like the CCS, and the rest was made up of grants and gifts. Pointing to the portion of the chart that tuition did not encompass, Toay said, “This is why we’re here today, because this piece is so big.” The second pie chart illustrated how the college spends its income. Twothirds of the money goes to financial aid and instruction. “We’ve attracted the best faculty and made it affordable for people who don’t have the means to get here,” said Toay. The rest of the chart was comprised of 20 percent allocated to institutional support for counseling services and academic

support staff, and 10 percent to Building and Grounds. After the explanation by Brudvig and Toay, the floor was opened up to student questions. The nearly two dozen students in attendance asked questions ranging from the cost of running the Language and Thinking and Citizen Science programs (which, according to Toay, is “much less than you’d think”) to how Bard could reduce its expense costs. At the end of the evening, while some level of demystification was perhaps reached, the primary message of the panel seemed to be a plea for monetary support following graduation. Toay said, “If you learn one thing from this, it’s that you should give us your money even after you leave here.” However, as a whole, many students seemed to remain skeptical. Sophomore Gaby Philo asked why students would feel compelled to give back to the school when they had been forced to live in temporary housing structures like Hudson and Catskill. To this remark, Toay conceded that the “trailers are terrible. The quality of the dorms needs to be addressed, and we’re trying to do that.” As the panel drew to a close and students began to shuffle towards the exit, Toay shouted his last remark. “Go out, make us money, and send it back!”

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EDUCATION DEBTS OCCUPY STUDENTS’ CONCERN BY CHARLES MCFARLANE

There are over a trillion dollars in student loan debt in the US. Roughly 53 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed. A new student group on campus is looking to address these issues head-on. The group is called Strike Debt. Strike Debt is one of the two major offshoots of the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) Movement, along with Occupy Sandy, a hurricane relief coalition. Strike Debt is a national movement committed to debt resistance, which can mean “fighting for free education and healthcare, defending a foreclosed home, demanding higher wages and providing mutual aid,” according to the Debt Resistors’ Operation Manual, released by OWS and Strike Debt. The group also sees debt as one of the critical components of the Wall Streetoriented economy and, through multiple

forms of debt resistance and awareness, they hope to challenge the current economic system. “The idea is to focus a lot of the energy that came from Occupy into the issue of debt, specifically because debt is an issue that they perceive as affecting everyone. There is not one specific community it affects more than others,” said junior Jack Magnusson, a member of the group. According to Magnusson, debt, in many ways, has become a “requirement of modern life.” One issue raised in the student debt debate is the “assumption that you go to college and it improves your prospects in life. And you’ll get a job that hopefully has something to do with your major and all that. In the current state of the world that just isn’t true,” said Magnusson. This problem was termed “Academic Inflation”

by Sir Ken Robinson, a British expert in international education, to explain the devaluation of degrees in higher education. Unlike previous generations, more students seek a bachelor’s degree or higher as a ticket to a more successful life. However, this, coupled with the current job market facing fresh graduates, appears to lead to a life of more debt and minimal employment. One of the first steps in confronting the nightmare of student debt is to raise class consciousness at Bard “that acknowledges simultaneously the privilege of the institution but also acknowledges the people in it who lack that privilege,” said Magnusson. He does not believe that the group can proceed without taking this crucial first step. After that, the group is looking to light a fire at Bard and show why

debt is a pressing problem facing every student, regardless of background. “The college [needs] to recognize that this is a crisis, and we need to do something about it,” said Magnusson. Magnusson would eventually like to see the group develop an “organizational structure, that if Bard was to suddenly jump its tuition we could respond and say ‘that’s not acceptable.’’’ Strike Debt hopes to be able to do this through trying to reach a new level of transparency with the financial side of the college as well as increasing campus dialogue. At an institution that prides itself on its radically liberal past, Strike Debt is trying to challenge the college into action. The group asks the college and its students to be radical in more than reputation.

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THE FARM WANTS TO BUILD A BARN BY STASHA MORENO

It’s a classic “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” story. Give Bard students a farm, and they’ll ask for a barn. On April 13, the Bard College Farm held their second annual Farm Fest—last year, Farm Fest played a part in raising funds for the farm itself. This time, they were raising funds for a barn. “It’s an outdoor classroom and student space. It’s going to have cold storage in it as well so that we can build up a supply and extend the season,” said sophomore Levi Shaw-Faber, a Farm Fest organizer. The campaign, called Raising the Barn, would exponentially increase Bard Farm’s success as a food producer, according to Farm Coordinator John-Paul Sliva. They hope that with the addition of a state-ofthe-art barn, located next to the farm, they will become a better seller to Chartwell’s, and a more efficient farm in general. According to Silva, the Farm had initially only budgeted for a shed. While the added demand for stored food caused a change in plans, there were also bigger opportunities on the horizon. “It quickly became obvious that there was [an] interest in classes,” Silva said. “There is really no shade out there behind Manor. It is [going to be] a place where someone could plug in something; there is going to be electricity so that you can teach a class about agriculture, food, or botany.” Additionally, as junior and farm organizer Ben Gordon noted, it will allow for the summer workers to have a communal space to cook their meals, instead of in Silva’s apartment in Catskill dormitory. The mock-up for the barn was made by an architect who designed a similar structure in the past, which is pictured on the organization’s Facebook page. “This is going to be a traditional barn, where you store hay up top…[some] space is going to be open, which is pretty cool, [and there is going to be] a loft,” said Silva, who contributed input for the barn’s design. “There are basically two storage bays on both sides, and then the central space is pavilion style.” Farm Fest 2013 was organized by Sliva, Gordon, Shaw-Faber, sophomore Carter Vanderbilt, and ju-

nior Zach Taube. Taube described Farm Fest as, “A day to celebrate the community, to celebrate the springtime, to celebrate each other, and music, and food.” Farm Fest raised money largely through money given in exchange for food. The meal served was largely provided by the organization Earth to Table, run by retired Culinary Institute Chef Joseph Baldwin, who contributed to last year’s event. “He does it basically for free, so he is really the only person that we could have possibly do this and make any money food-wise with offering it for eight dollars, to basically eat all day long,” Sliva said. Taube and Shaw-Faber described the musical acts at Farm Fest as, “our version of ‘Farm-Aid’”—an annual music festival founded by Willie Nelson, Neil Young, and John Mellencamp that benefits family farms. “It’s kind of a pre-Spring Fling,” Taube said, “and we don’t need $35,000 to do it.” The artists include many Bard bands, from rock and roll to folk and hip hop, according to Taube. They commission talented musicians who want to have fun. “A lot of Bard bands, all the rock and roll bands, a lot of folk kids, hip hop,” he said. “Just like really talented musicians, just up there to have fun.” There is “music all day, sitting on Ludlow Lawn, just hanging out, and soaking up the sun,” Taube said. In addition to local and Bard acts, New Jersey band Delicate Steve performed, and Paul Simon of Simon & Garfunkel was sighted at the event. “I think a lot of people made comments about it being this really great unifying event,” Sliva added. This year Farm Fest raised $1,800 of their $2,000 goal. However, they predict that they will still need more funds to actually complete the project. Paul Marienthal, Director and Dean for Social Action, is handling Raising the Barn’s finances. In addition to the Farm Fest, the organization has been looking for other methods of funding, including a t-shirt design contest, which they sold at the event. photo by sam taffel

RJD2 AND araabMUZIK TO PLAY SPRING FLING Over the course of the past six months, the Spring Fling Planning Committee has worked tirelessly to prepare the best Spring Fling yet. By starting the planning process earlier than in years past, we were able to book artists unfathomable in years past. When we sent out our artist survey for Spring Fling, we hoped to get one of the top choices. Not only did we get the top student choice, RJD2, we also (amazingly) booked the second top vote recipient, araabMUZIK. Despite fears that we will just have “some

dude pressing play on a keyboard,” both these artists artfully take DJ’ing to another level. At this year’s tent party, RJD2 will bring the party as he takes command of four turntables and his immense collection of records. He will be supported by one of the winners of the student DJ contest, Bard alumnus DJ Kaybee, and EDM power-duo Turbo Swag. Saturday’s Block Party will see massive improvements including a large dance floor, increased electricity, a higher stage, and better lighting. At the

Block Party, araabMUZIK is sure to blow minds as he hammers away as “MVP of the MPC.” He will be accompanied by a winner of the student DJ contest and New York’s very own DJ D-LO and (tentatively) indie rap group, RATKING. Thursday will see a jazz vocal concert and a variety show that will include fire breathing, sword eating, comedy, and more. On Sunday there will be the first Powder Puff football game. The weekend will contain the ASO Cultural Show, Milonga, Ultimate Fris-

bee, Undie Run, Squegee Tie-Dye, HSO Holi, ISO Volleyball tournement, and Carnival Crew, the Sparrows, a fashion show, Samba School, Orcapellians, Gospel Choir, and the traditional Chartwells picnic. Due to the May 11 “Campaign Party for a New Dorm and Student Space,“ there will not be a Kline Carnival . This is sure to be the biggest and best Spring Fling yet. Prepare to party, Bard. - JEREMY GARDNER


BY WILL TILGHMAN The summer before I came to Bard, my dad gave me a leather-bound copy of “The African Trilogy” by Chinua Achebe as a graduation present, thinking that Achebe’s time at Bard was going to be part of my school experience. Unfortunately, just before I entered Bard as a first-year, Achebe relocated to Brown University, where he accepted the position as the David and Marianna Fisher Professor of African Studies. Even though I was never a student when he taught here, I knew that the time he spent at Bard was something of a legend, and that Achebe continued to be considered a part of Bard. On March 21, Achebe passed away at the age of 82 in Boston. Yet, even in death, the legacy of his almost two decades of service at Bard as the Charles P. Stevenson Professor of Languages and Literature remains deeply ingrained in the school’s community. While few of his former students remain at Bard, Achebe taught in the Literature and Africana Studies programs. His classes included Modern African Fiction, African Short Stories, and Image of Africa in the West, in which students read works that are rarely read in other classes, such as Tayeb Salih, Bessie Head, Ferdi-

nand Onoyo, and Chiekh Hamidou Kane. Achebe’s classes were one of a kind, in which students explored the relationship between African traditions and the changing contemporary world through literature. Achebe began teaching at Bard in 1990, shortly after he was injured in a car accident outside Lagos, Nigeria that left him paralyzed for life from the waist down. Achebe began his new life by moving to a house on campus with his wife, Christie. Former colleagues, including Thomas Keenan, Director of the Human Rights program, and Stuart Stritzler-Levine, Emeritus Dean of the College, stated that Achebe was deeply attached to this school, for he found that the cosmopolitan and intellectual atmosphere suited his state of mind. Many who knew Achebe recount his powerful presence on campus; Levine described him as “the gentle man with unimaginable firmness of voice and spirit.” To many at Bard, Achebe was a legend and to most he was something of an enigma. Indeed, some felt unsure as to how they should approach one of the most important living writers who was also part of the Bard faculty. As former African Stud-

ies Professor Jesse Weaver Shipley said in an obituary of Achebe published in the journal, “Africa is a Country,” “In upstate New York some were in awe of him, some were ignorant of his importance, and still others who knew of this celebrity took a blasé New York attitude and left him alone.” And yet despite any nervousness from students or professors, Achebe was known to listen to all of his colleagues and students with enthusiasm and respect. Colleagues also noted that Achebe was grateful to Bard president Leon Botstein and to his fellow faculty for their generosity in accommodating his disability and immigration at the college. Shipley also fondly recounted how Achebe was not partial to email and that people around him would always help to pass on requests for talks and the like. Through this person-to-person way of interacting with the community, many faculty members of various disciplines were able to become close with one of the most important living writers. Achebe experienced a fruitful and productive time at Bard, though not many people knew of the often lonely existence he had in upstate New York. As Shipley

described, Achebe longed to return to his native Nigeria. Achebe was often aggravated at the changing cultural and political climate of West Africa but found it difficult to return because of his physical disability. As Achebe stated in a New York Times Article from 1999, “I just find it useful, fruitful to be in that community, as a writer, as a human being. There is so much to do.” Achebe’s lifelong commitment to human rights was part of what made him famous on Bard’s campus. “He exemplified all that made thinking about human rights here especially interesting; he was a writer, not a lawyer or an activist, but a creative person who had suffered and protested and thought about human rights through those experiences,” said Keenan. Despite any frustration that he may have felt, Achebe was able to make a home at Bard and surround himself with colleagues who respected him. His legacy here will undoubtedly remain for decades to come. In the words of Levine, “If ever a person will live in our memory often and not for a brief moment of time and for a long time to come it will be Chinua Achebe.” Achebe is survived by his wife Christie, their three children, and six grandchildren.

DIMAURO TAKES OVER RED HOOK PROPERTIES BY WILL TILGHMAN

According to a mass email sent on March 28, the offices of Hudson Valley real estate broker, Gary Dimauro, have taken over management of Blue Lake House Properties. The acquisition means that Dimauro now manages an additional 17 apartments and houses in Red Hook, according to Dober. Gary Dimauro is now “working for [Blue Lake House],” said Managing Associate Broker of Blue Lake House Properties Tracy Dober. “They heard that we were good at managing our properties and sought out our help.” In recent years, Gary Dimauro has been the predominate management company in Tivoli.

$3,360 just to sign leases for their off-campus housing, which has led some students to be hesitant to rent from the company. “The only reason that I was even willing to consider [paying the upfront lease costs] is that I was able to find their only property in Tivoli that is on a nine-month lease,” sophomore Diego Barnes said. In the past, Red Hook has been appealing to students because some believe it has been easier to find cheaper housing compared to prices in Tivoli, through independent landlords or smaller rental companies such as Mondello and Blue Lake House.

One Bardian claimed that with the change of management of his house in Red Hook, the monthly rent for the house has increased by over 200 dollars. Apart from being the exclusive management company of both the Schoolhouse and the Old Gym, Gary Dimauro manages dozens of other student rentals in the Tivoli area. But the agency never have had much of a foothold in Red Hook; previously the office only managed one house and one apartment building, a total of four rentals in Red Hook. The offices of Gary Dimauro require four months rent up front in order to sign leases for their properties, which account for first month’s rent, last month’s rent, security deposit, and an additional month’s rent for the office’s brokerage commission. This can run renters as much as

According to some off-campus students, rents of properties previously under the exclusive management of Blue Lake House have been raised since being taken over by Gary Dimauro. One Bardian claimed that with the change of management of his house in Red Hook, the monthly rent for the house has increased by over 200 dollars, totaling an additional 70 dollars per individual. As of now, it is unclear how severely the costs of rent of these properties will be further adjusted in the future by this change of management. But with this influx of properties managed by Gary Dimauro, students could expect to pay more to live in Red Hook.

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CHINUA ACHEBE REMEMBERED 1930 - 2013

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WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A HUMAN (ON ADDERALL) BY ANNA DANISZEWSKI AND LUCAS OPGENORTH *All students interviewed were granted anonymity and their names have been replaced with pseudonyms. In her sophomore year, Jamie* found herself with a film final project to complete and little time to do it. This was the first time that she used Adderall to study. “I took a lot of it for maybe one full week and just stayed up a lot, [filming and editing],” she said. When all was said and done, she had completed a task that she does not think would have been possible without the drug’s assistance. Stories like Jamie’s are becoming increasingly common as American colleges are seeing a rise in the use of “study drugs,” substances taken to improve students’ abilities to focus on academic work. Perhaps the most common drug in this category is Adderall, an amphetamine most commonly prescribed as a treatment for Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The drug was first introduced in 1996 and, though its use is illegal in Canada, it is controlled as a Schedule II drug in the US, indicating a high potential for abuse. While Adderall is drawing an increasing amount of concern from mainstream media outlets, including the New York Times, this particular trend is just the most recent form of drug used for studying, according to Dean of Studies David Shein. “The practice of taking stimulants to study all night..., that’s not unique to 2013, but the way in which it’s done, is,” he said.

graphic by emily wissemann

THE PRESCRIBED GENERATION Though the practice of medically enhanced studying may not be new, statistics show that prescriptions for and the use of ADHD medication are on the rise. A recent study by the Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that 11 percent of school-aged children are diagnosed with ADHD, showing a 41 percent increase in the last decade. Two-thirds of those diagnosed receive prescriptions for stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin, and sales for such drugs have doubled from $4 billion in 2007 to $9 billion in 2012. According to Director of Health Services Marsha Davis, 20 years ago the field of psychiatry, on the whole, turned its focus to prescription medicine, relegating methods such as talk-therapy to social workers and psychologists. Part of the reason for this high level of prescriptions, in Davis’ view, is aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies, which is often successful in persuading patients and prescribers alike. “Medical people claim that they’re not susceptible to that marketing influence, but the research has proven over and over again that as a profession... we are in fact influenced by the marketing,” Davis said. “Students need to be aware that big pharmaceutical industries, as far as I’m

concerned, are the moral equivalent of the crack dealer on the corner. It’s just selling and profit.” But this doesn’t seem to match the experience of Jim Standefer, Bard’s part-time psychiatrist. Standefer said that he is very conservative in writing prescriptions. “For most conditions,” he explained, “non-pharmacological treatments are usually the first line.” As prescriptions have become more common, attitudes towards the use of study drugs have relaxed, Assistant Professor of Sociology Allison McKim suggests. As these drugs become less stigmatized, McKim said, “the idea that we would use medical, and particularly pharmaceutical, means to enhance ourselves rather than to just fix problems is increasingly accepted.” But Seth, a senior who was prescribed Adderall at an early age, views the proliferation of such drugs as marginalizing certain personality types and creating an increasingly narrow standard of normal and acceptable behavior. “Prescription Adderall is basically all about maintaining a certain type of subjectivity or personhood, especially in the classroom,” said Seth, who was diagnosed with Oppositional Defiance Disorder when he was 12, and later ADHD. “It’s a chemically imposable standard, so when we deviate from that standard we can say

not only that it’s wrong but that it’s fixable, which removes the excuse from deviating from that standard at all.” Seth took a daily dose of 55 milligrams of Adderall for six years until he decided to stop at the beginning of his first year at Bard. According to McKim, both the legal and illegal availability of Adderall is related to social positioning: “Those drugs [like Adderall] require pretty decent healthcare to afford, or, especially if you’re getting them illegally, then that requires money.” Aside from financial capabilities, racial and classist stereotypes may also be factors in designating who has access to Adderall and who gets to embody Seth’s notion of the ideal regulated subjectivity. Research has shown that “non-white kids and poor kids are more likely to be diagnosed with disorders that are considered conduct disorders, that have more to do with being seen as disobedient than learning disabilities,” and thus may not be prescribed Adderall, McKim said. Ruth Zisman, Visiting Instructor in Humanities and Faculty Adviser to the Bard Debate Union, likens the increase in prescription drug use to sci-fi projections of the future, such as the dystopia of Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” “The idea that if you’re too quiet, you get prescribed Adderall, if you’re too loud or too hyperactive you get prescribed it… makes it seem like a kind of leveling, and mediating, and mediocritizing—that’s pretty scary to me,” Zisman said. But amidst the concern around overprescription and increases in abuse, the fact remains that drugs like Adderall are both helpful and necessary for those whose difficulty focusing is pathological. George, a junior who was diagnosed with ADHD this past summer, said that Adderall has allowed him to follow through on ideas, something he struggled with


THE ALL-NIGHTER PILL There is another side to the Adderall coin, however, and one that students appear to be largely familiar with: its use as an unprescribed study drug. The Bard Free Press conducted a survey1 to gauge the use of Adderall and similar prescription drugs on campus. Of the 318 individuals who completed the survey (309 undergraduate students, one staff member, three alumni/ae, and one graduate student), 57.4 percent said that they have used Adderall before, of which 76.1 percent said they were not prescribed, indicating that they had illegally obtained the drug. As the colloquialism indicates, students seem to have largely sought Adderall to get through dense periods of work. According to our survey, 79.6 percent said that they use Adderall in order to study. Of the Adderall-using students surveyed, 37.6 percent also specified that they only take the drug during midterms or finals. Jamie, for example, has found Adderall to be “very effective” in completing her assignments during these more demanding periods. “I think it’s easier, and you can leave [your work] all to the end and then presumably get it all done,” said Haley, a sophomore. However, she does not necessarily agree that it makes her more efficient, “Theoretically I end up doing it faster, but I just end up Tumbling faster.” However, Zisman questions what students actually get out of these challenging times of the semester when they use study drugs. “In some ways, what midterms and finals are meant to do are really test you [...] Can you produce a lot of good work all at the same time? Can you manage your time to write three solid papers?” For Zisman, a dependence on study drugs signifies “students [teaching] themselves that they can’t actually do that, that they always need a supplement in order to get through that.” Zisman believes that acquiring time management and selfreliance skills for the future are integral to a college education. Students who avoid developing these abilities only do themselves a disservice. “You don’t get to take a bunch of Adderall before you perform a surgery; you don’t get to take

We do not claim that this survey accurately represents a cross-section of the Bard student body. 1

a bunch of Adderall before you go in to give a case in front of a court. It’s not a sustainable habit.” But in a world with an increasing number of new distractions, Seth sees Adderall use as a reflection of modern academia. “As long as [Adderall] doesn’t become a dependent thing, [it] seems to be a relatively adequate and logical response to … academic standards,” he said. “I do think it [indicates] some problems with academia, that the most logical response to the academic infrastructure is to turn to drug use.” Bard tends to pride itself on fostering a unique sort of academic environment, which promotes alternative conceptions of success. In McKim’s view, Bard students are less professionalized than students at other colleges. “I see it less commonly at Bard when students are kind of ‘How’s this gonna get me into law school.’ Students here tend to be, just in general, a little more curious and want to learn for learning’s sake,” she said. President Leon Botstein advocates for such an ethos on an institutional level. “We do not ask you to be very competitive… We ask you to love the subject. We ask you to make a contribution to that love of subject,” he said. “I think what we ask of you in the institution requires no supplemental influence of any kind.” But Finn, a recent alumnus, sees this demand of dedication to one’s work as a distinct motivation for study drug use. He finds that Bard’s large workload means that students often let one or two classes fall by the wayside. “But if you’re doing all the work for all [four] classes at the very highest level you can,” he said, “I think that it’s very hard to do without augmenting that with some sort of external stimulus.” Shein is skeptical of such a causal explanation, noting that reductive analyses of complex situations tend to be unreliable. “While I understand that students may cite the workload as the reason they take these drugs, … I would be surprised if it were that simple a connection,” he said.

THE RISKS AT PLAY Both Davis and Telberg expressed concern with the casualness with which students can approach Adderall use. “There’s a difference between taking Adderall in the morning, eating before you take it … working with a psychiatrist or doctor, knowing what your dose is, getting your blood pressure checked every three months ... and buying it from a friend [and] taking a large dose ... which is quite a blast to the system,” Telberg said. According to Davis, the drug’s strong cardiovascular effects could be dangerous for a user with an unrecognized health concern, such as Parkinson’s disease. She also noted at least two hospitalizations of Bard students in the past five years in which unprescribed Adderall use, high caffeine intake, and lack of sleep caused transient but strong psychotic responses. Standefer notes that mood and anxiety disturbance, addiction, cardiac arrest, and seizures are also risks of nonmedical stimulant use. Because Adderall has a short history compared to common, older drugs such as aspirin, there is much that remains unknown. The long-term effects of its use remain largely unclear, and there are still limits in researchers’ understanding of how the drug actually works.

Despite potential adverse health effects, Adderall has come to be viewed as a silver bullet: an easy means to get ahead in work with, what some would consider, few side-effects. And yet, silver bullets tend not to be as infallible as they appear. Some students, such as Haley, feel uncomfortable with its tenor of ease. Typically a slow reader, Haley found that while on Adderall she was able to move through her assigned reading at a quick pace. “I could easily take this every day, and everything would be so easy; I would be able to reach my full potential. I had moral issues with that,” she said. Adderall use creates an ethical dilemma for Kiera, a sophomore whose only experience taking the drug was at a party in high school. While many of her friends use Adderall or Ritalin as a study aid, she is one of the few people she knows who actively chooses not to take it. For her, Adderall use seems like a form of cheating. “I feel better about myself having written a really hard paper or... having taken a really long exam without having taken Adderall or Ritalin than I would if I did,” she said. But while it seems easy to liken a college student’s Adderall to a professional athlete’s steroids, it raises the question of where one draws the line for acceptable stimulant use. “I want to say, you shouldn’t do it, it’s bad, it’s an easy out, you should buck up and take your finals,” Zisman said. “But on the other hand, philosophically, I have a really hard time drawing the line between my drinking five cups of coffee, someone else’s B12 shots, and someone else’s ... Adderall.” Despite the anecdotal evidence, the very idea that Adderall can act as a cognitive enhancer for those without ADHD remains unverified by the medical community. A June 2012 article in biopsychology journal Brain and Behavior concluded that, while such drugs can correct deficiencies like ADHD, this does not mean that they will also boost anyone’s cognitive capabilities. “While they might help students to stay up later to study and cram for exams or write papers in the way that caffeine might, they do not enhance executive function in individuals who do not have preexisting deficiencies in executive function,” Standefer, the part-time Bard psychiatrist, said.

LOOKING AHEAD Botstein and Shein made it clear that the administration has no intention of attempting to strictly regulate students’ personal choices regarding Adderall use. But Shein hopes that, in trying times, students will utilize the college’s resources rather than unprescribed stimulants. “If students are feeling like they’re struggling to succeed here, we want to help them. And I think that we can help them more effectively than a bottle of Adderall can,” he said. For Botstein, it’s also a question of falling back in love with the liberal arts. “The real trick is to get people to concentrate and remember and enjoy what they do without the aid of extraordinary pharmaceutical intervention,” Botstein said. “Reading and doing research can be exciting, but it takes time and drudgery, and there’s no shortcut.” But whether Bard is successful in creating this environment is another question. Once junior Miguel became more comfortable with his critical thinking skills, he stopped taking the Adderall that he was prescribed in high school. Though many professors he encountered at Bard were indeed supportive, others he found less accommodating. “I’ve had professors who teach 100-level classes and, kind of, to do well in their classes, you’re either going to struggle, or you’re going to be from a prep school,” he said. Perhaps these sorts of circumstances, along with America’s current collegiate zeitgeist, lead Davis to see Adderall use continuing. “I think that, given the nature of college and the pressure to perform, I see that Adderall will be with me for a long time. I’m not naïve about that,” she said. “And I will still not encourage it for the vast majority of students because of the risks that are there.”

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until taking the medicine. But despite his diagnosis, he explained that it is common for people to be skeptical of his Adderall use. “People are very willing to believe that ADHD isn’t real, and that is kind of a predominant belief among a lot of Bard students,” he said. “They see me as diagnosed and prescribed as, ‘He doesn’t actually have a neurological condition that prevents focusing. He’s just someone who has conned the system into giving him drugs.’” Tamara Telberg, Director of Counseling Services, emphasized that stories of Adderall abuse and claims of overprescription should not prevent students from seeking treatment if they are experiencing symptoms which interfere with their ability to function. Bard’s Counseling Center only prescribes medication in conjunction with talk-therapy, which Telberg says is the most effective method of treatment. Though Americans can be overmedicated, Telberg said, “I’ve seen many cases when medication is the thing that has helped students come out of very tough times.”

AN ACADEMIC SILVER BULLET?

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BARD COMPOSER SANCHEZ WINS WATSON INTERVIEWS BY NAOMI LACHANCE

Senior Jose Sanchez has received the Watson Fellowship. A music composition major also studying conducting with the master’s program, the current senior has $25,000 to spend next year traveling in Asia, studying and writing music. The biggest constraint? He’s not allowed to go anywhere he’s gone before.

Free Press: I have to admit I don’t know a whole lot about the award. Did you apply? Were you nominated? Jose Sanchez: I wrote a proposal basically saying that I wanted to study the sound. Everything that is related to sound. The voice, the music, instruments that I don’t know, the noise of the streets, of the people, the language itself is very different... And then once I did that, I wanted to incorporate that sound—okay, whatever I found interesting—into my music. So I will, like, to do an orchestra composition where I can mix the western classical instruments—the violin, the cello, all that—with the folk music from China: for example, the strings, or the percussion in India, something like that. My interest in the prize started to grow as I started winning, as I started passing the rounds. And then I had the interview with [Bard’s Watson representative]. Once you are nominated from Bard, somebody from Watson...[conducts] a one hour interview. Well, the interview ended, we talked about politics. The week before the interview, I finished a piece that is called “Politics.” And the first moment is called Temptation, the second movement is called Reality, and the third movement is called Defeat. So we had, like, a huge controversy why the last movement was defeat, why not success, something like that... but it’s just in principle, you know, to me, everybody goes through three stages... and then at the end you are defeated. FP: So do you think that that applies to your winning the Watson? JS: Yeah, definitely. I am defeated by going there in some ways. FP: How so? JS: Because winning this prize meant throwing away other plans. Especially for professional things. For example, I applied to Juilliard and Manhattan School of Music, both graduate schools, and I got accepted. It’s not like you are going to go there with your friends, or with somebody that you know; you are actually alone for a year. You don’t go to an institution, you don’t go to a place for more than three weeks. They ask you specifically to be moving around. So whatever place you go, if you are lucky enough to make good friends in that place, you have to leave them behind. That’s the definition of defeat. I win some things, of course. Hopefully, by the end of the year I will gain so much that by the end I succeed. The countries I will visit for sure are China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Bhutan, and India... If I have to sleep in a mountain, I will sleep there. Which is fine. I’m up for that challenge. FP: What draws you to music? JS: Everything draws me to music. I’ve played the piano since I was six years old. That’s what

I’ve been doing my whole life; that’s what I know how to do well. And it’s always there... I think music is a very pure way of expressing my feelings, and also, I feel like I have a necessity to write music to explore cultures and try to connect with the arts. Ultimately, I think that’s what artists are. And thats also a reason why I took the Watson. Because... when I’m composing, I have to be alone... And the Watson actually helps me to develop that, how to manage yourself when you are totally alone. […] Some composers are happy to stay in one square area almost their whole life and that, to me, is so scary, you know? I cannot [emphasize] how important it is for me to travel to experience. We live in an age of so much globalization. I mean, you are—where are you from? FP: Massachusetts. JS: Well, I’m from Venezuela. You know, maybe a 100 years ago, a Massachusetts person and a Venezuelan person would never be together. It would be very hard for us to talk... I grew up with exposure of knowing a lot of cultures, and I think that gives me an advantage when writing music. If I can write something that you can identify with, then it means something to you. If you go to a concert and you don’t identify yourself with any of the music that you listen to, what’s the point? FP: Do you think it’s possible to write something that someone from any culture could identify with? JS: Well, that’s my goal. I don’t know, we will see, you know? I don’t know anything about Asian culture, Asian music, their scales, their tonalities. Their sounds are very different from ours. We’ve already seen that, you know, jazz is a mixture with African percussion, Latin American rhythms, French harmonies, it’s a mixture of a lot of things... Now why have we not done that so much in classical music? Because we are constricted. We keep writing the same stuff for the same instrument for the same people over and over and over, you know, of course in different ways but it’s the same. FP: So it’s a defeat but hopefully also a success? JS: Exactly. It’s a type of defeat. But hopefully at the end I get to say I succeed in my travel, in my journey. And what I would like to see is a piece. I’m going to compose a piece that is going to be played by the Simon Bolivar Orchestra. So whatever I play at the end of this journey is going to be played on premiere by one of the most famous orchestras from my country. FP: How did that get organized? JS: I have contact with them. They played one of my pieces last year. My first major orchestral piece, called “Amazonica”... So that’s something I know for sure: whatever I write, I’m going to have a place to premiere it. Now let’s see if I can write it. That’s the challenge. Interview has been edited and condensed.


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The Davis Project for Peace gives $10,000 to college students pursuing philanthropic initiatives. Two groups from Bard-- The Bard Palestinian Youth Initiative and Living Together Navigating Common Grounds, run by Lauren Blaxter, Dan Gettinger, Ameer ShaNabi, and adine Tadros , nd Saim Said, respectively, -- have won the prestigious grant.

FP: Let’s start by talking about the Davis Peace Project grant. Nadine Tadros: It was our second time applying and our second time getting it... And even the fact that BPYI got it for two years out of three years is a huge deal. It doesn’t happen very often that a project gets it that often. Lauren Blaxter: With the grant last summer, we began renovations on the youth center, and this year it’ll be used to complete renovations. I mean, I think the youth center project is— Ameer Shalabi: Huge. LB: The youth center project, yeah, it’s really something that we’re all very passionate about because our project is all about supporting the youth, and supporting this connection, and being able to provide the youth of this village with an actual space that they can use to organize and to do their own events, and to continue the project throughout the course of the year. It’s really cool in a different way from the library or the playground because it has to do with the sustainability of the project. FP: Ameer, when BPYI came to your village, were you working as a teacher? AS: It wasn’t formally as a teacher, it was more like helping kids, because there is one American and one guy from Nicaragua who is teaching them and I was helping them translate, like, communicate with the little kids. LB: So the first year there was only one Bard student who was American and then Moujahed who was a Bard student but from the village, and then the second summer was the first time there was a women’s component to the camp, and there were 20 Bard students who came, so, like, an exponential growth... I mean, in many ways it’s sort of similar to the first program, that we’ve maintained—maybe we can’t call it L&T because it’s not L&T as Bard has designed it, but we call it Writing, Thinking, & Other, which is basically just this discussion time based around the structure of L&T of freewriting and then sharing, and then also continuing the children’s camp and then community service, and English lessons, and trips. FP: So, it seems like this is a project that operates on a couple different levels, you know. On one level it’s just the interpersonal, people helping other people out, but it also has some pretty strong political implications. How do you navigate that? NT: We try really hard to keep BPYI

as apolitical as possible. That being said, this is an inherently political area of the world, and even having the name Palestine in our name is political, but that is not necessarily our intention. In all of our actual actions that we do, none of them are politically oriented in any way. It’s just all about civic engagement, civil society, literacy, self-expression, and it just so happens to be in an area that’s very politicized. Dan Gettinger: But we don’t shy away from discussing political subjects, because we want our participants to become acquainted with Palestine as much as possible. And I think that part of the idea behind BPYI is that because our participants know Palestinians and because they know Palestine and they know the situation—then if they are interested in political activism they’re going to be much more effective and much more knowing as to being able to speak about it coherently, and also be able to engage in political activism or discussion in a way that’s going to be more compelling. FP: What draws you all to this project? NT: I grew up for part of my life in Cairo, and I remember my first day in American school, and I remember being really, really excited about the fact that we get to do more self expressiony stuff and that I think is a big part...I’m Middle Eastern, and this is a segment of the Middle East that I never would have had the opportunity to interact with, a small village in Palestine, and it’s widening my understanding of my own culture in terms of a Middle Easterner and an American. DG: For me, it was a personal connection, a friendship with Mujahed [Sarsur] that drew me to the project, and I think, just speaking generally, that’s the reason a lot of our participants go back for two or three summers, is because they have a personal connection with the village, and the residents of Mas’ha. LB: The place just really resonated with me, and this kind of work, I just think it’s so special and not like anything you see really. The level of integration with the community, and the legitimate friendships that I’ve built there. And just going back now and having the kids know who I am and for the when I show up for the kids to be like, “Lauren!”—it’s really cool. AS: I mean, the first time I participated in the program, was a coinci-

dence, to be honest. I was talking to Moujahed once, and we were playing soccer... I just sat down next to him and he asked me if I was good in English and I was like, “Yeah, I can do that,” and then he told me about the program and I was like, “Oh, okay, I’ll try to do it.” And then the first day I didn’t show up and he saw me in the mosque and he was like, “Why didn’t you come?” and I was like, “Oh, I don’t know, I forgot.” And then the next day I showed up to his house, and that’s how I participated in the camp... Being in a position where you walk in the street and someone looks at you in respect of what you do, how you are ready to invest in your own time in this community that actually needs help was a very refreshing thing, because when you think about it, you’re like, “I’m just a little kid.” Like, I was 15 when I started it. And as a kid my age given that much respect, that was such a treasure, you know? FP: Anything else? It seems like you have a lot planned. AS: Me and Dan have been going to the high school in Red Hook for an international relations class. We’re just talking about what the region is and how things work out there, and how kids usually ask the silliest questions, like, “Do you have ice cream?” and, like— DG: “Do you like chewing gum?” was I think one of the questions. FP: So people don’t necessarily have a good understanding of what happens in Palestine? AS: Yeah, exactly. It’s very vague for most of the people in this country. I remember when I went to Haverill, MA, we were talking in the high school, and there was this girl who asked me about where is the West Bank and what is the West Bank and what is Palestine, and I was like, “eeeh.” And I had to go into a like history lesson to get her exactly why. Why we believe this is our country but we only have this small part on the other side. It was really frustrating that I come from a place with a dynamic, there is a community, there is a structure, there is a semi economy, but technically nobody knows about us. I came from a place that basically doesn’t exist. I always have a story to tell when I introduce myself to strange people. It’s a good thing. I guess. Interview has been edited and condensed.

AND SAIM! FP: Tell me a little about this prize you’ve just won. Saim Saeed: The plan is essentially to do a short course for three weeks, sort of like a camp, I suppose. The plan is to do it for 20 kids from different countries in the Middle East, 20 kids from Europe, and 10 from Turkey. Depending on how much funding we get, that number, I think, is going to vary, but essentially the point is just to get them together and have different discussions and different activities and give them different scenarios to talk about global politics. We want them to become agents of change once they go back to their countries... To get them talking about things that matter and have them do something about it. FP: Why Turkey? SS: Because Turkey has symbolic and geographic importance. It was good to have kids from the Middle East and Europe in a neutral venue without either of them feeling like they have to go to the other. And at the same time, I think Turkey... itself is in a position where it’s facing these sorts of questions about which side to pick and who to talk to and how to do so. FP: Can you give an example of what a day might be like for the kids? SS: Essentially, it’s going to be different workshops about different things that people can do to either foster dialogue or to create some sort of discussion. So I have a friend who’s going to be doing a workshop on the Theatre of the Oppressed and various workshops on writing, on dialogue itself and how that matters or whether that has any importance. What we’re looking for is essentially to have it be semi-educational, but also a lot of vocational training for skills, such as public speaking or organizing or managing events or being moderators themselves, and how to ask the right sort questions. FP: You wrote in the proposal that some people are skeptical of projects whose goal is dialogue. Can you talk a little more about that? SS: It seems to be a very passive thing, right? The idea is to get beyond that and to start thinking about “Okay, now that this dialogue has taken place, what are they going to do with it?” And I think the goal that we’re trying to go for is to have each of them be an agent of change... The idea is to simply get people inspired enough to do something about it, and they can do that in the way that they know best, or whatever they think is the best way to go about. And the idea is essentially to have them go back and to go like, “Look, I have this experience, and I think that other people should have this experience, and I’m going to do X to make sure that other people are thinking about the issues that I’ve just thought about.” FP: So you talked about workshops, trips—is there going to be a syllabus or any sort of curriculum? SS: It’s more of an itinerary; it’s not so much a curriculum. And at the same time it’s going to be very interactive, so I don’t think we have anything to set, I think we have a lot of modules—as I said, I think all of us moderators have a lot to offer, and there’s going to be a lot of feedback from the kids themselves about what sort of things interest them. I mean, I think the sort of “assigned readings” will be newspaper articles or just particular articles that we think are important to what we want to talk about... it’s not exactly a set curriculum.

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AND BPYI WINS DAVIS GRANT


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ROSETTE CIRILLO ‘14 On April 18, Bard students will decide who will be the next Student Speaker. The two candidates Rosette Cirillo ‘14 and Jeremy Gardner ‘15 have been given this precious space in the Free Press to advocate to the masses why they deserve to be the next Speaker. Choose well Bard, choose well.

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Who are you? What year are you, what do you study, and where are you from?

this semester. And amongst the many ironic answers about meat, the word I saw most often was “community.” And this time last year there were My name is Rosette Cirillo and I am a junior, joint- quite a few times when I heard talk of our communimajoring in Philosophy and Medieval Literature. I ty being “broken.” Then and now, I think community am especially interested in the philosophy of educa- became a placeholder for a whole host of issues tion, specifically surrounding the pedagogy that is that we face at Bard. While there are many factors often involved in a liberal arts education. When I am that contribute to a sense of broken community, pernot studying, I run a philosophy club at Red Hook’s haps one of the larger factors is poor communicaMiddle School. I enjoy cooking with friends and am tion with one another as well as with the administratold I make a mean lemon simple syrup. I am from tion. As Speaker, I would work tirelessly to facilitate Bethpage, a small town on Long Island. communication between students as well as with the administration, as well as establish connections What have you accomplished, thus far, that between student groups that are working simultamakes you fit to represent the student body? neously towards the same goals. Furthermore, as Speaker I would work to ensure that administrative I have been an active part of student government decision-making, as well as the choices of Student for two years. I served on Student Life Committee Government, are both transparent and inclusive. (SLC) for a year and now serve as the committee’s chair. As a sophomore, I focused on making changWhy should students vote for you over other es to our food and technology at Bard. As SLC students? Chair, I have been in constant dialogue with the administration to voice and advocate for student conDuring my time at Bard I have been constantly cerns while simultaneously leading the SLC. This amazed, awed, and inspired at the passion that year our committee has been involved in food, well- exists here. Indeed, this is what motivated me to ness, structural and safety initiatives. Here is just a become involved with Student Government in the glimpse at what some of our projects have been: first place. I am excited to run for Speaker because the role is exactly what I think Bard needs to dispel - After re-painting DTR, we are working with Art issues of poor communication, lack of transparency Collective on getting student art put on the walls. and inclusivity. The role has been designed to har- We have acted as allies to Carter Vanderbilt’s ness student voice and streamline communication large-scale food initiative. from students to the administration. As Speaker, I - After surveying the student body, we are trying to will not make executive decisions or act as an aumake Two Boots a cheaper place to eat. thoritarian figure; rather, I will act as an advocate - We are working to reduce your [undergrad] for students by making student concerns clear to spam. the administration, as well as connecting student - We are hoping to get rid of water bottles on cam- groups to each other in order to address these conpus cerns. I cannot promise you new dorms, a better - We have just begun to work with the Queer email server, or coin-less laundry during my camStraight Alliance for gender-neutral housing and paign for Speaker, since taking on such projects bathrooms. falls outside of the duties of the role; however, I can - And we are also talking to security and build- tell you that these are initiatives that I support, and ings and grounds to improve the outdoor lighting on these are initiatives that I shall strongly advocate campus. for. My experience in student government thus far has been an immeasurable learning experience, both in terms of how to effectively lead as well as a sense of the Bard community. It would be an honor to be able to apply this knowledge to represent the student body as Speaker next year.

What I can promise you is that, as Speaker, I will do everything in my power to foster a more inclusive community and that I will work hard to represent you, always while maintaining transparency. I can promise to work neither vehemently against the administration nor dotingly for them, but in conjunction with them to address the issues raised by the community. I can promise that my decisions shall What is an issue on campus that you wish stu- be informed by the extensive experience in student dents knew more about, or were more active in government that I have. But above all, I can promise addressing? to be an ally to each and every student. With SLC, I put out a survey this semester called, “What’s your beef?”. The survey was designed with an open response format to inform the work of SLC


Who are you? What year are you, what do you her experience during their four years in their ivory study, and where are you from? tower. That is a sentiment I have encountered with far greater frequency at other schools. I know I’m not My name is Jeremy Gardner, class of 2015. I hail the only student who desires a greater sense of comfrom Northampton, Massachusetts, but have vari- munity here. We need to find ways to increase enously called home Andover, NH, the ocean, Harlem, gagement, and I have several ideas for how to make and Tivoli. I am undertaking a multidisciplinary study that happen. To increase school spirit, we should in strategy, which support our student athletes, particularly at home is a fusion of political studies, psychology, eco- games. We should increase the student activities nomics, and military strategy. (I have been granted budget, which currently comes from less than .003% the amazing opportunity to study that final discipline of our tuition even though, for many students, clubs at the US Military Academy at West Point.) I have a and activities take up as much time as classes. We great passion for human rights as well. should find middle ground with weekend activities that are neither debauched soirees nor depressingly What have you accomplished, thus far, that unattended “sober” events. Lastly, students must be makes you fit to represent the student body? made aware of the abuse potential of the Orwellian student-reporting feature of the new Maxient reportWhen the Constitution Committee transformed ing system, which allows students to anonymously the role of President into that of Speaker of the tell on their peers. But I digress. Student Body, we altered, perhaps unintentionally, the qualifications for the position. As the candidate Additionally, one matter that is vastly important in is intended to be a representative of the student the wake of the national student debt crisis, I think, body, the job is no longer suited solely for veterans is that the school must consider raising work-study of student government. No, I believe the “accom- wages. Right now, students working the maximum plishments” that make one fit to be Speaker can be time allowed can hardly make $100 a week. How is best understood in a broad sense, one that spans that supposed to even help pay for $60,000 tuition? from academics to the extracurricular, and, critically, It’s ridiculous. And it makes sense for Bard, for if stuto life experiences (adversities, triumphs, etc.). It is dents were paid more than a measly hourly wage of with this understanding of accomplishment that I feel $7.25, then the school would have to give less aid, I am qualified to be the Speaker of the Student Body, or at least reduce student debt. for I am not just another Bard Student Government member. I am an individual whose experiences have Why should students vote for you over other ranged from the very best Bard has to offer, to the students? very worst. However, I have certainly made several contributions to student government, having served First and foremost, I promise to always be availon the Constitution Committee, driven major policy able. For students, student government, and adchanges (first time marijuana offenses don’t lead to ministrators, I will make myself accessible via email probation, all judicial action is now streamlined to the (jg1578@bard.edu) and cellphone (413-575-4563) PRB/SJB), and worked on behalf of students in a at all times. Furthermore, I pretty much live on the variety of functions. But the experiences that truly second floor of the library all week and always will make me well-suited to speak on behalf of the entire be happy to address the needs of the Bard comstudent body include my work as a regular contribu- munity. I will remain involved in aspects of Bard life tor to the Free Press, volunteering at Astor Home beyond student government. I also live in Tivoli, so and for the Bard Leprosy Relief Project, throwing off-campus students can be sure that their interests concerts and parties, and, most importantly, chairing will be kept in mind. My doors are always open. I the Spring Fling Planning Committee. As the chair, I also vow to spend my student government stipend booked not just the top student choice (RJD2), but each semester on some sort of party for the student also the second top choice (araabMUZIK), in addi- body (think music, snacks, and drinks!). I will work tion to a bunch of great, smaller acts. My greatest tirelessly with administrators on behalf of students, achievement at Bard so far will unfortunately only but I will not hesitate to take a stand either. be realized in two weeks when Spring Fling is the incredible success I know it will be. Lastly, I know I am a polarizing character. But for all my personal foibles, I truly hope my desire to make What is an issue on campus that you wish stu- Bard the best place it can be is clear. The Speaker dents knew more about, or were more active in of the Student Body should be a voice, unwavering addressing? in its dedication to its peers. The Speaker should be a representative of all students, not just student govAs I stated in a recent Free Press opinion piece, ernment. That, my friends, is a role I promise to fulfill. I feel that there is a tragic atmosphere of apathy at Bard. Every college student deserves to love his or

news

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JEREMY GARDNER ‘15

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graphic by rufus paisley

[ BARDIVERSE ]

CCE ESSAY CONTEST WINNER: ABE ROSENTHAL GOES TO RUSSIA

SOMETHING ABOUT SPLASH photos courtesy of molly livingston

BY LEELA KHANNA

Abe Rosenthal, a Bard senior, figured he had nothing to lose when he took part in Center for Civic Engagement’s (CCE) essay contest. His decision paid off, and Rosenthal is now preparing to head to Russia to present his award winning essay on what it means to be human in the year 2013, in the context of freedom and constraint. “In my paper, I basically argued that in order to understand what freedom means in our age, one must first identify what constraint is,” Rosenthal said. “Being human means being a part of humanity, not seeking to stand above it, and that freedom can only be achieved by loosening the constraints on those people across the world who are constricted most tightly.” Rosenthal is an art history major whose interest in philosophy plays a big role in his writing. The three winners of the contest, Rosenthal, Gleb Vinokurov from Smolny College in St. Petersburg, and Yelena Vorobey from American University of Central Asia in Bishkek, will be going to St. Petersburg in late April to present their essays. “I’m psyched to go to Russia,” Rosenthal said. “I didn’t even know that was part of the deal. I’ve never presented a paper before like this, so that will certainly be interesting.” Bard junior J.p. Lawrence is a runner-up in the contest. He approached the topic from the framework of economic freedom and “the ability to pursue one’s individual talent and become the individual one truly wants to be,” he said. Lawrence chose to focus on economic freedom while on a trip to the Philippines, where he saw the effects of economic burdens on young people. “I saw that many smart people my age were trapped in an economic system that forced them to discard their dreams at a very young age, all to meet the demands of a very limited market,” Lawrence said. Rather than writing an essay, he chose to make a video to offer more clarity in his thoughts. “The hardest part of this project was separating my feelings from my thoughts,” Lawrence said. “The young people with dreams deferred—they were my kin, and as an immigrant, I know it could have been me.” The three first-place winners also won 500 dollars, and all runner-ups will have their essays posted online on the CCE website.

Along with Paul Simon and his fedora, the other event making a splash on campus was the Center for Civic Engagement’s Bard Splash! Program. Bard hosted hundreds of high school students from NYC and the Hudson River Valley on Saturday April 13. The students had a chance to explore different courses all taught by Bard students with unique interests. Courses offered were both non-traditional and non-academic such as Circus, VideoGaming, and Witchcraft in the 21st century.


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Clockwise: from the top: Molly Hickman dancing, two students filling out evaluations, Gabriela Philo escorting students, Model UN, teachers filling out evaluations


/// STUDIO ARTS SENIOR UBS SHOW 2013 ///

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A. Jake Coan B. Kate Falcone C. Lindsay Eskind D. Ann Ellwood E. Lindsay Eskind

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photos by will anderson

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bardiverse

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SATELLITE

PUBLICATION COMPILED BY LEELA KHANNA

The Bard Free Press made a shocking discovery recently: we are not the only publication on this planet. Not only that, some of Bard’s partnered colleges and programs produce publications. We were greatly disturbed by this fact, because we consider ourselves to be unique and special and deserving, and thus it makes us worried that there are other publications that might be better than us. Therefore we sent Bardiverse editor Leela Khanna to find these publications, interview them, and provide us with the necessary information in order to destroy them internally. Please feel free to read about these publications before they are gone. We are the greatest paper in the world.

Hannah Arendt Journal [Bard College, NY] Roger Berkowitz, Director of the Hannah Arendt Center

Why did the Hannah Arendt Center choose to launch the HA journal this year?

Hannah Arendt is the most significant political thinker of the 20th century, and yet there was no journal dedicated to her ideas. It made sense that the Hannah Arendt Center would publish one. HA reflects both Arendt’s life and work and also the mission of the the Hannah Arendt Center at Bard: to be an intellectual incubator for engaged thinking and public discussion of the nation’s most pressing political and ethical challenges—all in the spirit of Hannah Arendt. We bring dozens of speakers to Bard every year on topics ranging from totalitarianism and drone warfare to citizenship and Occupy Wall Street. We also sponsor scholarship on Hannah Arendt. These talks are free to the community, as is video on our website and blog. HA selects the most interesting of these talks and publishes them in a visually striking journal. HA is something that can be held, read, and passed around.

How is the journal different from the information readers can access on the Hannah Arendt website?

The talks given at the Center are available on our website in video form, and the quotes of the week are on our blog. When these are transcribed and put into HA, they are edited and re-worked. Above all, they are made physical, something that can exist and be passed from hand to hand. The journal becomes, therefore, something to be discussed and held on to, and thus something that brings people together in a common world.

How long has this project been underway? Who are the main people involved in the journal’s publication?

The first issue of the journal took about 18 months to create from conception and involved editors, interns, and the assistance of many people. Hannah Arendt Center Senior Fellow and writer Wyatt Mason first thought up the title and the idea of the journal.

What in your opinion is the highlight of the journal? Why should students be interested in reading HA?

The first issue of the journal includes essays from two conferences, “Human Being in an Inhuman Age,” and “Truthtelling: Democracy in an Age Without Facts.” There are great essays. The journal opens with an absolutely fabulous essay by Uday Mehta on Arendt and Gandhi called “Is Lying a Political Virtue?” It is a particularly strong example of thinking what we are doing in the spirit of Hannah Arendt.


Wits Vuvuzela [University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa] Kenichi Serino, Coordinator The Wits Vuvuzela is a newspaper published weekly by students of the University’s journalism programme. Specifically, our Career-honors program. For background, Career-honors is a postgraduate degree that is a step below a master’s. It’s a one-year program. The paper, to my memory, began in 2004. The staff is made up of the students, and we usually have a class of about 20; at present, it’s 17. Everything in the paper is done by the students. I act as the coordinator and help the students put the paper out. Because we have a new class every year, some help is needed in refining angles, generating sources, etc. We publish the paper weekly; its an 8-page paper. Occasionally, we go to 12 pages. The print run is 10,000, distributed on our different campuses with little-to-no remainders. I couldn’t say how many students read the paper as it is also picked up by staff members, visitors to cam-

pus and such.

How would you describe the style of the paper?

The paper has a fairly straightforward style. For us, the paper is a training tool for the students before they go into a professional newsroom. As such, they are expected to write a lot of hard news on and serving the Wits community. Unlike a lot of student publications, we don’t have a substantial opinion section. Personally, I think our students are better served learning to write news than opinion. So while we are a student-published paper for an audience that mostly students, the style is very hard news.

students to perform in newsrooms. We use the paper to this end and expect them to write “newsy” articles.

Have you ever had trouble with censorship or any other challenges?

I think, like every other paper, we’ve had threats of censorship against us. Very early in the paper’s life we ran articles that put the SRC (Student Representative Council) president in a bad light. He attempted to stop us by arguing that as SRC president, he had authority over all student clubs and societies. Needless to say, we did not accept his logic. There have been a small handful of threats, often from student politicians who are about to look very, very bad. I must say that the UniverWhat aspects of the sity administration has not only respected our paper are unique? I think what’s unique about the paper is its editorial independence but shown they underposition in the course. The course is an in- stand why we must have this independence. tense one-year program designed to prepare

New Star [American University of Central Asia, Kyrgyzstan] Nargiza Ryskulova, Editor-in-Chief New Star is an independent student newspaper based at American University of Central Asia. It first was published in 1999. In 2008, it won an award as the Best Student Newspaper in Kyrgyzstan for being fully written, edited, and run by students only. There is usually only one employer, a student newspaper adviser, who looks over logistics and organizational tasks. That would be me. The content is fully prepared by students.

with content and layout. However, we try to follow the best traditions of journalism, such as balance, objectivity and ethics.

Why you unique and all that? The fact that it is completely independent from the University administration and expresses opinion of the student body makes the New Star unique.

Do you ever get censored?

haven’t ever been suppressed.

Have you won awards :) ? The New Star is the only student newspaper to have received an award of Best Student Newspaper in 2008 by the Annual National Newspaper Prize on the contest organized by Journalism Association of Kyrgyzstan.

Can I join your paper then?

We write quite few critical articles, so

Most students come just because they

The newspaper is also a field to learn for thors and justify our articles. Although the students, thus we experiment a lot both newspaper creates a lot of discussion, we

rotate continuously, but the diversity is the best part about our staff

How would you describe your steez? often we have to defend our positions, au- have an opinion and stick with us. They

photo by oscar tiné


[ CULTURE ]

JOANIE4JACKIE: Equalizing and Celebrating the Women Voice in Filmmaking BY ELIZABETH PYLE The phrase “a challenge and a promise” underscored the first poster that Miranda July made in 1995 for Big Miss Moviola, a project and chain letter system she created so female filmmakers could correspond and watch each other’s work. The concept was simple: all you had to do was send a VHS of your movie to July’s PO Box in Portland, OR. In return, you would receive a zine and a compilation VHS with every other film that was sent to July. The only stipulation was that you had to be a woman. July, now a well-respected filmmaker and performance artist, was in her mid20s when she came up with the idea. In the mid 1990’s, Portland was the epicenter for the “riot grrrl” scene, an underground feminist punk rock movement often associated with the beginnings of third-wave feminism, a strain of feminism that identifies with diversity and change within the movement. This energy no doubt had an impact on July, who at the time was looking for ways to get the female voice heard in the maledominated realm of filmmaking. The project started out slowly, looking more like a challenge than a promise, with only a few tapes trickling into her PO box. July was also forced to change the chain letter’s name from Big Miss Moviola to Joanie 4 Jackie (J4J), due to copyright infringement (a Moviola is large machine used for film editing). Despite its slow start, the ‘promise’ aspect of the project—the promise of communication, of sharing art, of seeing other women’s work—solidified and found its footing. The chain letter eventually received more attention, and more women started contributing their films to the project. July produced the J4J chain letter for about eight years until 1998. The entire chain letter, all of its compilation VHS tapes and zines, has been archived at Bard since 2005. Upon her arrival, Associate Professor of Film and Electronic Arts Jacqueline Goss started doing tutorials in which students would continue to compile Joanie 4 Jackie chain letters as a semester-long project. J4J now exists as a document of the time before video-sharing sites like YouTube and Vimeo. In 2008, Ed Halter, Visiting Assistant Professor of Film and Electronic Arts, prompted Vanessa Haroutunian, a junior at the time, to check out the archive as research for a class paper.

“The stuff that I saw in the archive that was originally inspiring to me were the 16-year-olds living in Georgia contributing their voice to the chain letter,” Haroutunian said. Haroutunian eventually decided to do her senior film project on J4J. She restarted the tutorial, comprised of film students who wanted to help organize the archive, and decided to register J4J as club, so she could get some funding for its activities. “As the project and club got bigger during my senior year, we started getting more guest artists to come who had work in the original chain letter,” said Haroutunian. This evolved into bringing more female filmmakers to come to Bard and show their work but who weren’t necessarily in the original chain letter. J4J continues but has taken on new forms and projects. Last semester, the club started to organize a few screenings of work made by female filmmakers in the spirit of the chain letter, of sharing the female point of view in film. This semester, it hosts a screening almost every week and has already shown work by filmmakers such as Kathryn Bigelow, Kelly Reichardt, Sadie Benning, and Chantal Ackerman. The members try to organize at least one guest artist to come per term; past examples of filmmakers that have come and talked are Elisabeth Subrin, Sadie Benning and JD Samson. Kelly Reichardt, a filmmaker and Artist-in-Residence at Bard, had her first feature, “River of Grass,” made in 1993, shown at one of the J4J screenings this semester. The film itself, a kind of dark comedy, depicts a woman, Cozy, living in Florida completely bored and looking for a place to escape to. With a voice as heavy and empty as the Floridian humidity, Cozy is always imagining an “over there,” a border, something more exciting than the present. Reichardt said that the project was struggle. “The whole process was a battle. It seemed like everyone on set wanted

That was 20 years ago, and I think at a certain point age sort of trumps gender; it’s easier for me to make films now,” Reichardt said. “I also think things are better now [for female filmmakers], but it’s still very tough.”

to direct the film.

Senior Tara Sheffer has been a part of the club and helped Haroutunian run it since her first year. She said the first film she saw from the chain letter had a distinct DIY feeling to it, as is typical with all the work in J4J—everything was very low budget. “In the movie, two young women are

playing around with a Scream mask and constantly running away from things. It had inflatable furniture and ‘90s music, but it’s the kind of low budget movie that all filmmakers make at some point in their career if they start young enough—this one just happens to be documented and archived,” Sheffer said. Junior Alex Eaton also has been a part of J4J since her freshman year, when the club only had six other members. She is looking for a good way to pass off the J4J torch to underclassmen who are inspired by the club and what it does. “The sophomores and freshmen [in the club] are really into it, and that gives me hope it will continue after [the upperclassmen] are all gone,” Eaton said. One of the sophomores, Nina Ryser, is determined to keep J4J alive and well throughout her time here. “I was drawn to Miranda’s mission to inspire women artists to share their stories of empowerment and struggle—or neither—through their artwork, regardless of experience or education in filmmaking,” Ryser said. J4J is also not a women’s-only club, and it has young male members who are passionate about the femalemade films they present and choose to screen. One such member, junior Garrett Rosenblum, recognizes the importance of screening films made by women. “The film canon—experimental, narrative, pretty much everything—is maledominated. We know Orson Welles and John Ford, Spielberg and Chaplin, Frampton and Snow; but the women that made work during the same time and in the same spheres don’t get the same recognition,” Rosenblum said. “J4J is about the underrepresentation of women filmmakers, and I have become aware of the problem, and have been exposed to more work by very important artists.” Haroutunian imagines a good future for the club. There are plenty more screenings scheduled in the remaining term, and the club will host guest artist Katrina Del Mar on Tuesday, April 30. “I think it’s getting more attention,” Harotunian said. “Our screenings have been getting more and more full. I think the club is going to take on a new life.”


On the weekend of April 11-14, Bard was abuzz with Bacchanalian enthusiasm. The Theater and Performance Program, in conjunction with the Classical Studies Program, presented five sold-out performances of Euripides’ “the Bakkhai” (also spelled the Bacchae); a tale of lust, blood, and divine wrath. The production featured a cast and crew of Bard students and an original translation of the play by senior Ned Moore. The weekend also featured a performance of conservatory student Dylan Mattingly’s original composition based on the tragedy’s choral odes.

INTERVIEWS BY NELLE ANDERSON AND NAOMI LACHANCE

DYLAN MATTINGLY: NED MOORE: TRANSLATOR

Free Press: What inspired you to do this project? Ned Moore: So the thing that really inspired me to do this project was I had read this play in a class with Thomas Bartscherer, in Ancient Quarrels. The way that Thomas teaches the text is what inspired me to do it. I was thinking about majoring in music at the time, and I realized that I felt something very close to the text. I couldn’t really put my finger on it, but I knew I wanted to get closer to it and work with it for my senior project by the time my sophomore year came around. And I asked Bartscherer, “What if I learned Greek?” And he said, “Great! You should learn Greek!” And I said, “What if I translated ‘The Bacchae’?” and he said, “Are you crazy?” So I think in part it was a crazy idea that I wanted to pursue, and I had to have a loyal dream about doing it. What ended up happening was that I approached James Romm from the classics department and told him I was going to work on “The Bacchae.” He knew I was involved in drama and he said, “Have you thought about putting it on?” I told him I’d dreamed about putting it on, but I never thought I could actually do it. And so once he insisted that the classics department would support that project, I really got inspired to take it on and translate the play for performance. I should mention that Daniel Mendelsohn advised the translation for performance. He is a big reason why all of that worked.

cannot believe them. But to have somebody show up saying that he’s a god and trying to prove it to us is a scary thing to confront in the 21st century. We’re in a time where many of us are very actuary thinkers and don’t think so seriously about the metaphysical and tend to box ourselves off with very regimented schedules. “The Bakkhai” challenges the way people think, and it has been doing that for 3,000 years and has fascinated people for that reason. It doesn’t necessarily feel like a museum piece when we watch it. There are still ways to make it feel contemporary, real, and relevant.

FP: What was your experience staging the translation? NM: Staging the translation was the most exciting and terrifying and beautiful and crazy experience I’ve ever had. I remember the first read-through, just sweating and panicking the entire time. There’s nothing like it. As it developed, it became really exciting, because we could see that it worked. Once it started coming to life, it was much easier to see where things were happening that weren’t clear, especially with the chorus. So much of the chorus’ character is in the choreography, which actually came right out of the language. Thinking about all those complexities with vocal technique and choreography thrown on top of that was a challenge that I didn’t even foresee. That required a lot of lastminute changes to the script, and it kept FP: Why “The Bakkhai” in particular? evolving during the rehearsal process. NM: The audience usually assumes that One of the biggest surprises was that the gods in Greek tragedy are really gods, there’s a particular scene where Pentheus right? But this play is very different be- comes out in a dress. I remember the accause it’s all about a god proving to you tors struggling with that scene for a long that he’s a god. That, I thought, was a re- time, and then Dylan Mattingly wrote the ally interesting concept. I think that’s sort of music for the chorus, which our sound dewhat initially drew me to the play and also signer put on during that scene one day, why it’s so wonderful and lends itself so and all of a sudden the scene just came well to the theater, especially to a modern to life in a really remarkable and unforeaudience. We are very skeptical of gods. seeable way. Everything all of a sudden I mean, when someone shows up saying, clicked because of the music. “I am Jesus Christ” in the 21st century, we

COMPOSER

FP: So this weekend is a “Bacchanal?” What does that mean? Dylan Mattingly: When you think of Bacchanal, you think of a big huge party with lots of alcohol and running through the woods naked. But I guess it all comes from “The Bacchae” which is the Euripides play written in 404 BC in Athens, and it’s about the horror of crazy. And Dionysus comes, and Dionysus is the god of ecstasy and violent sex and joy, and he destroys everything. FP: How has your music been involved in the weekend? DM: So a long time ago, Ned Moore decided that he was going to translate “The Bacchaei” for production, and close to then I latched on, and I wrote music for the choruses of “The Bakkhai.” There are seven choruses, and the ancient Greek choruses are in this amazing meter where it’s not like what we think of when we think of 4/4, or that sort of thing, because it’s patterns based on the length of the syllables... The way ancient Greek choral poetry works is that there are rhythmic patterns created by what the words are, but there’s no written music, so people have it memorized. The patterns can change lengths, because it’s all coming from the words and the people know the words... There’s this incredible rhythmic structure in the choral poetry. And so my music uses all the meter of “The Bakkhai” and also the tuning system, essentially. It’s hard to know what the tuning system would be in ancient Greece, but one thing that we do know is that it’s definitely not in equal temperament, which is how a piano is tuned. A piano is made so that there’s an equal distance in between the twelve notes, and that makes it really easy to play every key equally. But what it isn’t is mathematically based on ratios ... “Just intonation” is what it’s called when it’s tuned based on ratios, and so my pieces are in “just intonation,” meaning the relationships of the notes to each other are all based on ratios rather than on their relationships to each other. It sounds really foreign but really beautiful because it’s more consonant than any-

thing we have in the modern world. So my music is 27 minutes long, and it’s got every word of the ancient Greek-it’s in ancient Greek. It’s got four singers, two oboes, cello, bass, re-tuned piano, and two percussionists. And it’s got every word of the choruses in all of it, with the meter, and it’s in “just intonation.” It was used a bit in the play. A guy named Chad Raines who’s doing sound design for the play, he sort of took what he wanted and sampled it and made some interesting lyrics and stuff. So there’s sort of some source material in the play that is my music, but it’s mostly his stuff. At 4 p.m. my stuff is happening in full. FP: It sounds like a really big task to take on. What was your process like? DM: It was all of the fall semester, getting into “The Bakkhai” and learning everything about the meter. I didn’t actually start writing until the spring after I got to meet with [Director Lileana Blain-Cruz] because I wanted to talk to her about emotional things behind the music, because music is the driving force behind anything that you’re watching. Then I started writing, and it was a frenzy, and I wrote music in two months, which is really insane, and then we recorded it, like, two days after I finished it, and then we will be playing the recording today. FP: If Euripides heard it, what do you think he would say? DM: I don’t know, something in Ancient Greek. It’s not a restoration; it’s not what it would have sounded like in Euripides’ day. It’s definitely my music, but the idea is to use what we know about his stuff to create something new. I think it’s pretty great, so I think he’d probably like it.

culture

THE BACCHANAL

21


WORDS OF WISDOM FROM NEIL GAIMAN COMPILED BY STASHA MORENO

Of the 80 Bard students who applied to the one-week writing workshop taught by Neil Gaiman, only 12 were accepted. The workshop took place during the first week of April and mainly consisted of Gaiman divulging his various trade secrets to the prospective writers of the real world. Here are a few words of wisdom that Gaiman offered the class:

DELICATE STEVE SHREDS AT FARM FEST BY NATHA

N SUSMAN

“My theory on myths is that they start as huge important ways to talk about the world, ways to talk about where things come from. They compost down into fairy tales.”

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“The truth is learning to focus; learning to do one thing at a time is good. You were meant to do one thing, and one day they will bury you.”

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“Stop worrying; just enjoy.”

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“Precociousness gets nobody anywhere.

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“Don’t over-commit yourself. Do not have too many things to do.”

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“People are either hedgehogs or foxes.”

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“Use the time you have got right now. Write, start things, have ideas, abandon things, start things. All of those are great to do when you have time.”

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“On self-publishing: Only do it if you enjoy promoting yourself. Only do it if you enjoy swimming in those social waters. It works for some people, not for others.”

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“I love doing stuff for kids. Fiction for kids is the most important [writing] you can do. If you write a good book for kids, it can change them. You can change them; they may grow up differently.”

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“The only reason to have fame is to impress your friends’ kids.”

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“The joy of getting to create things is a very specific and a very real joy.”

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“The act of imagining…we tend to take it for granted.”

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“It’s the little things, it’s the paper, it’s the staples.”

Home studio producer Steve Marion of Delicate Steve has one of the most original sounds in indie rock today. The 23 year old guitarist specializes in sugary slide guitar lines and chords so thick that there’s no room for vocals. The New Jersey-based musician is signed to Luaka Bop, a label started by David Byrne of the Talking Heads, and is currently recording his as-yet untitled third album. The Free Press spoke to Marion just after his set at Farm Fest. Free Press: You were in a band in high school, Baller Banks, which Warner Bros. was interested in, but did not follow through with. How did that impact the way you make music? Steve Marion: It just made me not care that much at first. It didn’t make me feel bitter or anything like that, it was more that we were happy to get out of the contract. We weren’t really touring, so it was kind of a good thing that they shelved that record, and the band didn’t break up or anything. It definitely made me not have any ambition to see [Delicate Steve’s] “Wondervisions” come out on any crazy record label, because I had some drive and determination but didn’t really care where I ended up. That’s how I was able to stay motivated with the project, and get a label, and a booking agent, and all that stuff. FP: So, all the members of your current band are from this art collective you started while in high school? SM: Yeah, well, the band happened first, and once we broke up I met the guys from Baller Banks, joined that band, and made that record because I used to do home recording and stuff in my bedroom. A year or two after that band broke up, and I started to play music again with people, I assembled a band of all of the musicians that I still kept in touch with from bands I was in. So like, two guys from Baller Banks, a guy from another local band, and a solo singer-songwriter, and another kid who did some recordings. It started that way. Someone had an album’s worth of material, we all played on their record. That’s really how it happened. FP: A lot of people describe your sound as “worldly.” SM: I don’t know what’s behind that. I’d say there are a lot of weird comparisons that might be right. Like, I never listened to Paul Simon’s “Graceland” until about a month ago, and that’s an album I’ve always seen compared to our sound. It was really cool getting to meet him [at Farm Fest], because when I was really young, I got to sit next to him at a Yankees game, and I finally got to tell him that to his face. But anyway, I’ve also gotten compared to Vampire Weekend. I still haven’t listened to them, but Ezra [Koenig of Vampire Weekend] was saying that when people sometimes hear high-pitched guitar that’s high up on the neck, that’s clean, they start to make that comparison.

FP: I read that you mic’d the strings of your electric guitar to get your sound. How did you develop that technique? SM: It was just a hunch. I played around a lot. FP: When you released “Wondervisions” a few years ago, you said in an interview that you didn’t know so much about how the music industry worked. Would you say that you’re a little more conscious of the business aspect of it now? SM: Definitely. Just being involved in it for so long, the glamour has disappeared that you have of just being a concert-goer. Playing so many shows, some things tend to disappear. FP: One of your biggest songs is “Butterfly.” Can you describe the conception and recording of that song? SM: It came to me on a bike ride originally. I had a casio drum machine that I got at Salvation Army for like three bucks, turned up the tempo, I wrote this slide riff, mic’d the strings on that one as well, so it was really fuzzy-sounding. I thought that was done, and then I thought, “Well, let me add chords to it.” There’s some synth stuff. It’s all keyboards and guitars. That was one was really fun to make. FP: You’ve been touring quite extensively over the past few years. Many people say that as the market value of recorded music continues to approach zero, touring will become the only way bands make money. Do you think that’s the case? SM: I have no idea. I don’t pay as much attention to that as I should—well, maybe I don’t really want to pay attention to that. I’m having a lot of fun right now, doing what I’m doing. I can live right now, and hopefully, I’ll be able to make more money making art. Right now, I don’t feel like I have to think about that stuff. FP: How do you know when a song you write is finished? SM: I try to just stop myself before I feel like it’s actually finished. I never try to add too much. I always feel like that’s the downfall of most recorded projects: there’s way too much crap on there. There’s too muddy of a sound, or you can’t hear how all the instruments are related to each other. FP: What have you been listening to lately? SM: The Clash, a lot of the Clash. I’m not really excited by much new music. It’s really awesome when something new comes along that I really like. photo by sam taffel


23

BY GRACE CAIAZZA

Three years ago, Andrew Worthington ‘11 founded “everythinglooksbetterinpink,” a literary blogspot for Bard students to post their written work. It was a quaint space of the internet, but when he and Dennis Donnelly ‘11 graduated, they once again found themselves searching for a venue to produce writing that they wanted to read. This drive, combined with a meal at a moderately-priced chain restaurant, birthed the literary magazine Keep This Bag Away From Children (KTBAFC). “I wanted to bring together writers and artists I liked and to feature creative people that may be more marginalized, generally, in the larger world of art and letters,” Worthington said. “Also, I had an Outback Steakhouse gift card, and Dennis was the only one who would go there with me, and it was then that we started talking about it.” KTBAFC publishes a print magazine every six months, maintains a website that features new content several times a week, and publishes a handful of chapbooks each year. The publication contains a style of internet poetry with which many readers might be familiar. A lot of vague verbiage, descriptions and images that hang in the air. Poems that talk about the loss of the novel to computers. Poems that rail against the cor-

porate ladder. Poems that talk about poets who are trapped in their jobs as librarians in Brooklyn. Amateur writers who are professional drinkers. The greatest contribution the magazine has to offer is a glimpse into the world and life of modern poets, those who have been born and raised in the Information Age. To say that this age of mechanization has not affected the tone and style of the writing being produced today would be false. KTBAFC’s list of contributors is full of writers from all over the country. According to Ben Nadler, who started out as a contributor to the magazine and is now part of its host of editors, the magazine finds content by reaching out to writers they admire. “KTBAFC is very committed to building and supporting a literary community [which is the reason we hold so many reading events where people come together], and we love to showcase the writers we believe in,” he said. Nader made sure to point out that the magazine is not exclusive, though. Content is also attained through unsolicited, emailed submissions. “All unsolicited submissions are read by at least one editor, and they are given serious consideration, regardless of who the author is or what publishing credits they have,”

photo by will anderson

BY ANNE ROWLEY The Spring Fling Planning Committee organized a DJ and Producer contest for this year’s Spring Fling, featuring 15 choices for DJ and nine choices for Producer and then opening up the decision to Bard students through an online survey on March 27. The winner of the competition was senior Dylan Coburn, also known as Soft City. Coburn has been DJing for eight years. The other names in the contest were nearly as diverse as the artists themselves. From “bAby dAd” to “Apache Barrel,” and from big-room club music to ‘90s techno, the competition provided a glimpse into the varied electronic music scene at Bard. But in the end, the majority ruled— Coburn, who is most well-known for creating the notorious Booty Banger parties, will DJ at Spring Fling. Coburn started Booty Banger in his freshman year and has continued throughout his four years at Bard, in spite of a police shut down last year and a relocation to the Sportsman’s Bar and Grill in Tivoli this year. He has also DJed Trouble & Bass events in Brooklyn, and the Bard campaign parties for a new student space. When asked about his influences, Coburn cited Jamaican dance hall and Baltimore club music. “I’m a really big fan of big drums and rhythms over dubstep,” he said. Coburn strives for a mix between mainstream and underground. “I won’t play Rihanna’s newest single, but I might play something from 2000 when she was still good, when she had that Caribbean influence,” he said. For Spring Fling, Coburn plans to mix in with his usual influences an “ode to 2000’s rap, like the club anthems we don’t hear anymore.” He also hinted at including some twists, mentioning Paul Simon and Reggae music. He hopes to please the audience as well as incor-

Nader said. The people who sift through these submissions are usually the seven official editors and other trusted friends. What these editors look for, according to Donnelly, is writing that has “some element of [the] alt lit internet scene, like a Tao Lin aesthetic.” But Worthington sees the perception of KTBAFC as an “alt-lit” publication wearing off, especially as the term becomes more vague. “Regardless, I find that we keep pushing the bounds of being experimental while still being accessible, of being smart while still being fun,” Worthington said. The magazine also aims for diversity in style and writers. According to Donnelly, they succeed in achieving this diversity a lot of the time, particularly in their chapbook publications. “We’re trying not to have just aspiring MFA students and poetry majors; more ‘traditional’ internet writing, we like to switch it up,” Donnelly said. In last year’s print run, Donnelly was assigned to lay out and produce a chapbook that was originally created on a typewriter. “It was a crazy time. I had to personally print it,” he said. “I couldn’t print the 1,200 pages in my office so I had to go to my parent’s house [in New Jersey]. They were like,

what is this? Why aren’t you in grad school? Then I had to paste them together an hour before the release. I got my friends to have a desperation chapbook making party.” Despite all the difficulties, Donnelly still finds the job rewarding and is excited about the magazine’s future plans. KTBAFC is in the middle of editing its third print issue— they plan to have at least 100 copies— and a new chapbook. The magazine also is planning on having a gallery show that mixes some of the art featured in the mag with live readings of the work. In the end, the writers of KTBAFC have maintained what they started with: a community of writers who just want to help one another publish and distribute their art. “[After graduating], I wanted to pursue my own writing ambitions and interests. I got an MFA, I lived in Brooklyn, and now I live in Washington Heights and teach writing at CCNY,” Worthington said. “I don’t have goals really anymore, and I didn’t have a ton of goals when I graduated Bard. I want to grow as a writer.” For Donnelly, the biggest reward comes from being a struggling writer and helping people who are in the same position. “It’s really a group process: we give to them, and they give to us,” he said.

SPPPPPPPPPPPRIIIIIIIIIIINGGGGGG FLLLIIIIIIIINGGG DJ CONTEST

porate his own musical tastes. “You have to make sure it’s a communication,” he said. Coburn, though uncomfortable with the idea of a competition, understood its necessity. “I don’t like it, but it works.” That being said, he did campaign in order to garner votes by “hitting up a few friends on Facebook.” Senior Teddy Katz, also known as WhipvanWrinkle, was the winner of the Producer competition and similarly campaigned for votes. “I made a Facebook event and invited everyone,” Katz said. He was happy to have two seniors as winners of the competition. Because Spring Fling is aimed towards seniors and a celebration of the completion of the senior project, Katz said he would have been a little disappointed if underclassmen had won. The name WhipvanWrinkle was “inspired by the legends of the area around here, a way to honor this place,” Katz explained. “Also there is literally nothing else called WhipvanWrinkle. When you type it into Google, I’m the only thing that shows up.” Katz has been producing for two years and

DJing for four. He performed at all of the Dose Me shows and the Team Sex Addict shows last year. He describes his influences as dubstep and the Future Bass Movement but does not anticipate playing these at Spring Fling. “I probably won’t play dubstep just because it’s proven not to be super popular here,” Katz said. “At the last few parties I’ve done, I’ve gone without dubstep, and it’s been fine.” He will instead be playing dance music and hip-hop. Both Coburn and Katz missed Spring Fling their junior year. They are excited to have a part in the major campus event in their final year. “I’ve always been a fan of what the college does with Spring Fling. I always really enjoy it,” Coburn said.

culture

KEEP THIS BAG AWAY FROM CHILDREN BARD ALUMNI START LIT MAG


culture

24

FEMINISM, OR HOW I LEARNED TO FORGET EQUALITY A YOUNG MAN’S JOURNEY BYJEREMY GARNER

Disclaimer: I recognize the absurdity of my writing this article. But this was a personal journey that merited a narrative, which, I hope, can provide insight to all. It was on a lovely autumn evening last year that my quest began. I was in a heated discussion with a friend in Kline when I overheard a young woman, seated nearby, declare to her friends, “I hate feminism.” The protein shake I was drinking retreated up my nose. “What Bard student,” you may ask, “albeit female, would claim to ‘hate feminism’? She must have been visiting.” Despite the sting of whey in my nostrils, I, too, gave this fine institution the benefit of the doubt and let the girl be. Yet living with three lovely ladies this year, being exposed to more estrogen than even the most hormonal straight boy could hope for, has confirmed that this sentiment of disdain indeed exists at Bard among select, rational females at Bard. However, when I encountered such beliefs, they were unfortunately overheard (I’m not one to interject into strangers’ conversations) or at a point in the evening when attempting to engage in such a dialogue would pose a threat to my physical well-being. Frustrated, I searched countless dictionaries for a meaning of “feminism” that seemed less appealing to a young woman than the Merriam Webster definition: the theory of the political, economic, and social equality of the sexes. I found success on the fifth page of “feminism” entry on UrbanDictionary.com (which, shockingly, had hitherto provided well-written, unbigoted definitions). However, I had a sense that no young woman at Bard viewed feminism as “a politically correct, federally funded special interest hate group.” Thus, lacking any etymological argument for female hatred of feminism, I was forced to venture beyond my keyboard. I first sought women with this professed animosity towards feminism. Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that late-night living room diatribes do not necessarily translate into an opinion that the women wanted published in a newspaper. Notwithstanding, some female peers opened up and the

“Right now, I’m having a very difficult time calling myself a feminist,” said Rebecca Lansbury, who identifies as genderqueer, and as recently as last year was quite an ardent feminist. The Bard freshman has since realized the inherently controversial nature and complexity of of the movement, beyond the mere notion of gender equality. “For me, it’s a lot bigger than what people think feminism is,” Lansbury explains. “I don’t really use the term feminism, because I’m not just fighting for people who identify as feminine. I’m fighting for people to be who are they are in all spectrums.” This reveals the sometimes restrictive nature of having the “fem” in this “-ism.” It can estrange certain individuals. I also spoke to some of the women who actively identify as feminists to gain perspective on this sentiment. Rajasri Narasimhan, S.W.E.A.R. (Students for Women’s Equality and Rights) club head, wrote, “When young women today claim to ‘hate feminism,’ they are still probably in some way feminists.” Historically, she has noticed, the women who have tended to “hate feminism” have often exhibited strong feminist tendencies. “Feminism incorporates so much that it would be more difficult to not be a feminist in some way than to ‘accidentally’ be one.” Provocative “pro-sex” feminist Betty Dodson spoke to me about this issue before her wildly popular talk, “Better Orgasms, Better World” on April 9. Her answer to why some young women distance themselves from feminism is that “Sex is no fun for [both parties]” (which is her answer to most inquiries). That being said, she also said many young women see feminists as “boring as hell. We’re just crabapples... It’s like we’re an organization of angry mothers that have never had a really good one.” An interesting perspective was offered by a female sophomore, speaking on conditions of anonymity. Despite certain disadvantages women face, she posited, “What if I don’t

“ We’re just crabapples... It’s like we’re an organization of angry mothers that have never had a really good one.” - Dodson subsequent debate over the matter enlightened me to why a woman may oppose feminism, or at least its proponents. One of my housemates, senior Rebecca Wagner, expressed her distaste for feminists, saying, “[Feminists] create more [gender] divisions by labeling themselves as feminists.” Due to the value I place on the integrity of my household and my personal belongings, I did not engage the matter further. But that statement alone revealed a popular sentiment that would be repeated throughout my exchanges. The association of feminism with the movement’s more radical, bra-burning sect leaves many women uncomfortable and unwilling to endorse the effort.

want to be treated the same?” There are benefits that now exist that she wouldn’t want to lose, such as in cases of divorce. “I like that the child goes to the woman 90 percent of the time.” Similarly, the Pentagon’s recent repeal of its ban on women in combat prompts me to consider how many women, genders being equal, would want to sign up for Selective Service, and hence face the possibility of military conscription and combat? Without many forthcoming anti-feminists, I took advantage of this ivory tower and reached out to several professors in the Gender & Sexuality Studies program. Professor


25 culture

of English Deirdre d’Albertis explained that, actually, “The move to redefine academic programs as Gender Studies, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and so on also grew out of a sense that [Feminist Studies] was both too particular or restrictive and too universalizing in its scope. As politics changed, so too academic discourse has changed.” Professor of Philosophy Daniel Berthold explained that resistance to feminism is not a new phenomenon. This hostility, even among women, can be traced as far back as the

a “glass ceiling.” She may not want to be associated with the radical segment of the movement, or to create a further gender divide. Feminism may fundamentally threaten her sense of identity. It may not encompass as broad a range of goals as one would like. She may identify more with the perks of being a female today than with the goals feminists have for tomorrow. Yet Berthold corroborated my initial feeling that female critique of the movement lies more in misunderstanding than

“ The “F” word, in my mind, is akin to the much-maligned “liberal” or “socialism”--lightening rods for people’s hopes, fears, anger, and idealism all at once. ” - d’Albertis negative reception of Christin de Pizan’s “The Book of the City of the Ladies” in the 15th century. D’Albertis pointed to the unfavorable reaction to Mary Wollstonecraft’s “A Vindication of the Rights of Women” from 1792 and her time as a student in the ‘80s. Dodson corroborated this history with her own personal experience during the “second-wave” of feminism in the ‘60s and ‘70s. According to Dodson, this wave was born out of New York, from the likes of Ms. Magazine, the “stars” of feminism, and “snot-nosed college students” like us. She feels many of her peers in the second-wave were (and remain) out of touch. “[Feminists] kept divorcing themselves from what was actually going on in the culture. They had higher ideals,” the 84-year-old said. “Now, I’m not against higher ideals, but they don’t seem to ever work.” She posits that a certain resistance to sex is once again to blame, as “we never had a feminist definition of it. We never had a feminist concept of what sexual freedom, sexual expression, might look like.” Those in the movement would not embrace her approach of sexual liberation to realize feminist goals. “All we ever knew was what we didn’t want; we are against this and against that, and no to this and no to that.” This negativist approach to advocacy may play a large part in feminism being potentially “seen as a threat to a woman’s sense of self-identity,” as Berthold explained. The movement challenges “the way that many women internalize patriarchal assumptions and values about what it is to be a woman.” This story began as an “opinion” piece, but I quickly realized that, in contrast to a woman who claims to “hate feminism,” I am not entitled to hold an opinion about the sentiment in the same way that a woman might be. Due to my rearing within a liberal, feminist bubble (my hometown was dubbed “Lesbianville, USA” by the National Enquirer), gender equality hadn’t been questioned by anyone but Rush Limbaugh and the anti-“feminazis” on Fox News. I now recognize that there are a vast array of reasons that a woman may not want to identify with the feminist movement. A young woman may not feel disadvantaged or affected by

anything else. He argues that attacks are often directed towards the more radical contingents of feminism, not the mere notion of equality. The beliefs that feminists are manhaters, what Berthold calls “an outlandishly reductionist understanding of feminism” or that equality, in fact, exists now, “a tragically and empirically false claim,” both fuel disdain for feminism. “What strikes me as important, however, is that in spite of critique (and counter-critique!), feminism remains an incredibly charged and powerful idea,” reflected d’Albertis. “The ‘F-word,’ in my mind, is akin to the much-maligned ‘liberal’ or ‘socialism’—lightening rods for people’s hopes, fears, anger, and idealism all at once.” “I do identify with feminism,” said Lansbury. “But then at the same time I’m reluctant because I wish there were a broader term that completely supported gender rights.” This is, for me, perhaps the most convincing argument regarding aversion to feminism. Narasimhan discussed how the women of Dodson’s generation had to bring together the vast range of values and demographics that feminism incorporates. However, “It is very easy for feminism to suddenly become a group or be seen as something that only portrays the values and concerns of privileged, white women.” The unique experiences of different groups of people have such a profound effect on the way they see the world that it can seem myopic to isolate their beliefs to a single term, “feminism.” “It is easy for people to know and identify with only parts of it and reject or be unaware of other parts of it,” stated Narasimhan. “I don’t view this as a terrible thing, as I believe that the rejection of a label isn’t a big deal if the action and beliefs remain. However, I do think that a term like ‘feminism’ has the ability to create some necessary solidarity among women who share beliefs and can make a difference together.” I, personally, still identify as a feminist and believe in the inherence of gender equality. However, I have come to recognize that I have no right to regard distaste for feminism as ignorant, even if the Merriam-Webster dictionary would suggest otherwise.


[sports] HOW ONE MAN’S LOVE MANAGED TO SPREAD TO THOUSANDS KINDA

BY TOM MCQUEENY

Ken Cooper has six bikes; eight if you include the two he recently sold. All of them are labeled with Bard Cycling Team stickers. Outside his office hang race numbers and two helmets, one cracked and the other stained with blood and goo. Inside his office, every inch of the walls is covered with pictures, mementos, and certificates of achievement. In the chair sits a man, telling me to hold on as he excitedly takes a phone call to figure out how the cycling club is going to get to their next race at West Point. For Cooper, the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference race that took place on Bard’s campus on the first Sunday of spring break was more than a job for security. “It’s always been my dream,” Cooper said. It was a beautiful day in front of Robbins on March 24. Twenty-eight teams had arrived at Bard with 160 registrants to race in a criterium, a cycling race that goes around a small loop. The dorms had opened to welcome the racers and give them a place to warm up. Buildings and Grounds had swept the course to make sure there would be no difficulties. Migliorelli farms had donated seven gallons of apple cider, and people in the surrounding community were very supportive. It was enough for the guest racers to take notice. “They were floored by the fact that we have such a

supportive college community and administration that were willing to back us up,” Eames Bennett, captain of the Bard Cycling Club, said. Racers in the front pack started out very fast, doing 1:50 minute laps, each lap .8 miles. As the first few laps pressed on, racers started to grow tired. Eventually, they realized that the course was as tough as it was beautiful. “Since it was during spring break, not many people could see what was going on, but watching some of those upper level guys humming around the course was just mind-blowing,” Bennett, a junior, said. But the race was not just about speed. Even slower racers got as much enjoyment as they could out of it. At one point, a struggling racer from UVM picked up a large American flag and began to race with it. “Everyone was saying ‘We want to go again,’” Bennett said. All in all, there was not a single tire puncture and only two crashes. There were also some Bard victories—in the Men’s D race, Bennett came in fifth, junior Logan Hollarsmith in ninth, senior Arthur Holland Michel in 12th, and junior Jason Gregg in 18th. In the Men’s Intro race, Dylan Hanback ‘13 came in fourth and senior Otto Berkes came in seventh. photos by david berg, darmouth ‘16

“All of us were so proud when other teams came up to us and said that Bard was a beautiful place,” said Cooper. The Bard team has continued to be successful since the March race. On April 13 and 14, the Bard Cycling team competed in the 29th Spring Army Classic, hosted by the US Military Academy at West Point. Five Bard riders competed in three events over the course of the weekend. In the Men’s D2 road race, a 26.6 mile course through the scenic Harriman State Park, Hollarsmith and Holland Michel placed first and second respectively in a field of 31 riders from schools including Princeton, Yale, Brown, Williams, RISD, and the US Military Academy. Gregg placed 14th in the same race. Meanwhile, junior Kalena Fujii placed second in the Women’s Intro Road Race. In the Men’s D2 Criterium, all four Bard riders placed in the top 10 in a field of over 30 entrants, with team captain Bennett taking third, narrowly edging out Holland Michel, who took fifth, in a crowded photo-finish. Hollarsmith and Gregg finished in seventh and 10th respectively, making Bard, which is the smallest school—and the newest team—in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference, the most successful school in the hectic 25-minute race on the bank of the Hudson at the eastern edge of the West Point


27 the finish line to drink a six pack of beer in two minutes. “I’m an athlete, but I’ve chosen cycling because it’s low-impact until you hit a truck, which I’ve done,” said Cooper. But the most important ride for him happened when he visited friends in Vermont. His

“When you sweat together, you get to know each other,” said Cooper. Growing up between two towns, Ken Cooper was four and a half miles from anything. Like a fish to water, he was born into biking. Spending so much time on his bike, he was bound to be shaped by it. “Some of the most life-changing moments that will make me smile when I die have come from a bicycle,” said Cooper. And Cooper has a range of moments to pick from. There was the time he was biking up a mountain and passed out still clipped into his pedals, forcing him to crawl off the side of the road. Or the time he rode 40 miles with what he thought was a broken collarbone. And, of course, there was the time when both of his

was and with that understanding, he just did it. Since that ride, he’s recreated it several times with friends because of how much it meant to him. It is as if it is his own personal pilgrimage. “You can get flat tires, you can bonk from not eating enough food or if you don’t drink enough water, all these things like having to go number two, it’s just human nature. Though I usually ride by myself, you’re very close to the environment. You hear every bird, you see every squirrel that’ll run into your wheels, you know about the road, you see how people throw garbage on the road, you see the beauty of nature, and the best and worst of human nature with the car drivers; it’s just dynamic, and it’s happening.” From now on, every year, during Spring Fling, Bard will have a Bard Criterium listed on the website of the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference. With the success of the race, it is likely that next year the races could take two days with 200 to 500 racers. Though some may stress, few will be as happy as Ken Cooper.

Some of the most life-changing moments that will make me smile when I die have come from a bicycle. hamstrings began to cramp up in a 60 mileplus race, probably due to dehydration. In that particular race, he was forced to massage both legs while racing for miles and crossed

I’m an athlete, but I’ve chosen cycling because it’s lowimpact until you hit a truck, which I’ve done. friends wanted to play golf, a sport Cooper thought was for old people. He much preferred going on a bike ride. His friends from Vermont gave him a bike route they knew about. They thought it was a simple 40 miles, so Cooper went off to do it. What they hadn’t known was that it was actually 100 miles, and it was one of the toughest rides in Vermont. “When you’re down here, and you look straight up to a tower, and you bike something that only seems accessible by flight is amazing,” said Cooper. He didn’t know what he was doing. All he understood was how heavy and serious the ride

sports

Campus. Thirteen years ago, Bard didn’t have a successful cycling team. Bard didn’t have a team at all. Bard didn’t even have Ken Cooper. In 2000, Ken Cooper had just started working on campus. It was August during the Language and Thinking Program, and he was helping anxious families navigate around the campus while keeping an eye out for any expensive bicycles hanging off of cars. When one such car showed up, he asked a young Jonathan Ray ‘04 if he’d be interested in the Bard Cycling Club. When he said he was, Cooper told him, “Great, because we don’t have one, so you’re now the team captain.” Together they formed the first cycling club and went to their first few races in cheap, red jerseys with Leon Botstein’s face spray painted on. Cooper’s cycling-related activities don’t end with the cycling club. Every year, he takes firstyears on a tour around campus. Also, along with other faculty, he puts together a large biking list where students, administrators, and professors can ride together between 12 and 2.


[opinion] RESLIFE: COOL MOM OR…? BY EMILY BERKOWITZ

“You are a person first, a student second, and a PC third,” I was told my first day of peer counselor (PC) training. In order to prove a progressive shift in loyalty, Bard employs students—“peer counselors”— rather than “resident assistants.” Unlike almost every other college or university, the title denotes a duty to the residents rather than a tie to the bureaucracy of Residence Life (ResLife). The name changes expectations; PCs foster trust in residents and act as constant resources rather than as ResLife moles and rule enforcers—it’s a lot like being the ‘cool mom.’ But the position is progressive in title alone, and ResLife is hypocritical at best. When first-years arrived—no longer hypothetical concepts but living, breathing individuals—I was suddenly tossing out lessons in mediation to make room for the specifics of writing a Maxient report. The counselor became the enforcer, expected to uncover the broken rules and deter future destruction. As a PC, I found the only residents worth reprimanding were the ones who gave me no choice, the ones I could catch without trying. I warned them all from the start: don’t make me do my job. I wasn’t looking to punish; instead, I wanted to become a source of guidance should a resident become lost or confused as many do their firstyear of college. Intervention should only concern unsafe or threatening situations, yet PCs are expected to act upon any indication of rule breaking, particularly alcohol consumption or partying.

photos by sam youkilis

Despite my residents’ discreteness—hiding bottles, not using red solo cups, keeping music at (somewhat) decent levels—I was told over and over to get the dorm “under control.” Why was I knocking on doors and allowing residents to hide their alcohol first? Where were all the reports for students caught with joints or beer cans? Policy is, of course, that students under 21 cannot legally drink and that weed is an illegal substance, but I prefer an operation more realistic than punishment and deterrence; namely, honesty and the promotion of safe, even if not legal, habits. And yet how could I say explain this without stigmatizing myself as lenient? Without becoming the ‘cool mom’? The problem is formed by the conflicting expectations of ResLife and residents. Despite what the title indicates, PCs are obligated to defer to ResLife before their residents. Once this responsibility is reversed, however, PCs become viable in dorm life relying on intuition as opposed to an institutionalized set of instructions. Residents, too, would have to adapt, respecting that, while the PC is there for the benefit of her peers, she is still an employee of the college; engaging in conversation around regulations rather than avoiding being caught allows a PC to live up to her name, counseling rather than commanding. A PC should no longer see the position as layered—person first, student second, PC third—but as a malleable identity for all of Bard community: person and peer first.


29

BY KURT SCHMIDLEIN

Dear Stall Street Journal, Let me say first that I am usually a fan of you, Stall Seat Journal. I support dialogue about safe sex and sexual exploration, and I appreciate being told I’m a unicorn while I pee. But you have disappointed me, Stall Seat Journal. The day after we printed the February issue of the Free Press, I read an installation of Stall Seat Journal in the RKC that stated that “the best ways to prevent” the flu is to “get a flu vaccine and wash your hands!!!” First of all, this year’s shot is not very effective. According to the Center for Disease Control, “The vaccine effectiveness estimate for protecting against having to go to the doctor because of flu illness was 56 percent for all age groups.” Furthermore, a new vaccine is developed every year—is Peer Health, a group of undergraduate students, really qualified to unequivocally endorse each new vaccine? If not, it is an outright abuse of your role on campus, Stall Seat Journal, to make such a categorical claim about such a complicated issue. Second, frequently washing one’s hands will of course diminish one’s chances of contracting the flu. But using uncited sources to say that people often lie about washing their hands (28 percent, you claim) is hardly justification for vaccination. Third, the best way to avoid illness is by being healthy. And the best way to remain healthy is to improve one’s immunity by staying away from processed foods, sleeping well, and exercising regularly. By promoting the flu shot, Stall Seat Journal, you are instead endorsing the quick-fix attitude that most Americans hold: that, rather than working hard to maintain good health, we should get a shot or pop a pill. Of course, having a strong immunity is not always enough to avoid the flu. But those who argue that getting vaccinated is the socially responsible course to take in order to avoid further spreading what this year became an epidemic are overlooking the fact that America is inherently unhealthy, and the ship of social responsibility has long since sailed. Besides, the real concern with the flu is that it may develop into something worse, like pneumonia, at which point the shot clearly hasn’t worked and survival depends on—you guessed it—immune system strength. So if you insist on dipping your toes into the ocean that is physical health, Stall Seat Journal, refrain from adopting an authoritarian voice about complicated issues. This is a place to think, after all, and Bardians deserve to read announcements that don’t sound like a press release from a pharmaceutical company while they pee. Come next winter, I’ll be long gone from Annandale, but rest assured the flu will be back in force. By then, I hope Peer Health will have developed a Stall Seat Journal worthy of an epidemic.

BARD’S FOOD CHALLENGE BY ALYSSA FREEMAN While walking across campus, have you ever counted how many times you overheard people talking about the food at Bard? Whether someone is starving because they only ate rice for lunch, or craving cookies for hours, over the course of the day, food is either directly or peripherally a piece of the conversation. What to eat and when is always somewhere in our minds. We don’t realize it, but food is an aspect of campus life that unites us as Bardians, regardless of our many separate affiliations. But despite our food’s significance, most of us are not taking any steps to foster change. Food, both here at Bard and in society, is taken for granted, and these issues continue to be unaddressed. Our concerns about food need to be front and center; our attitudes need to be transformed. In February, three fellow students and I had the opportunity to attend a summit in Baltimore, sponsored by a non-profit organization called the Real Food Challenge (RFC). The Boston-based organization was started by Anim Steel, a man who knew that food systems needed to be changed. Steel was supported by David Schwartz, a Brown graduate who also wanted to make a mark on his campus after leaving. The challenging aspect of the organization is to get a commitment signed at different colleges and universities to have 20 percent “real food” (local/regional, ecological, sustainable, humane, and fairly traded food) on their campuses. At the summit, speakers explained that we are the first generation “in our nation’s history to have a shorter lifespan than our parents.” This statistic was a slap in the face to the 250 students in our meeting. This was one of the few moments during the summit where I admit I felt somewhat hopeless. How can we change the fact that our generation will have a shorter lifespan than our parents? I was not exactly sure how to answer that question, but I thought that student representation from 70 colleges and universities in one room was a way to start. Recently, a group of extremely motivated Bard students started the Food Initiative that is trying to implement the same changes that the RFC has been advocating. The initiative was started by Carter Vanderbilt, who was also the voice and leading advocate behind the Bard Farm. The Initiative is not only working to revamp food on campus, but is also working to inform our student body about the importance of buying real food, supporting students’ needs and opinions. On March 1, President Botstein and Vice President Jim Brudvig signed the petition allowing Bard to participate in the RFC. At the same time, Chas Cerulli and Nelson Defigueiredo of Chartwells gave students participating on the Food Initiative Committee the necessary info to put the RFC to work. Both of these steps are enormous accomplishments for the college in moving towards making our food better and more widely available to all of us, as well as a step towards implementing the Initiative and overhauling the globalized food industry. In addition to changing food on campus, the Food Initiative is prioritizing the education of the student body about real food. As fast-paced college students, it is difficult, while running between classes and satisfying ravenous hunger, to make nutrition a priority. Just food is now a politically charged issue that impacts the future of agriculture, local economies, and the maintenance of a sustainable ecosystem. These are crucial issues that are being addressed and are beginning to be taken into consideration by students across the nation. At the summit, a student named Lindsey told us a story about her relationship to higher quality food and how her interest developed through involvement in environmental science. This led her to understand that the just and sustainable food initiative meant support for animal rights, local farmers, store-owners, migrant workers, and consumers. Food is an aspect of life that brings all humans, animals, and plants together. When Lindsey was telling her story I admit that the impact of my personal food choices on the world’s sustainability seemed surprising, but in fact what one eats every time we eat is both a personal and political statement. In Lindsey’s words, “What I eat is what I am, and what I eat is connected to the earth, which is connected to hundreds of thousands of people.” When she said this it helped me to understand that we are all part of this cycle of harvest, processing, and distribution that impacts our environment, our health, and our future. As we move forward at Bard to create a community with more real food we are helping ourselves as well and supporting a healthy, just and sustainable cycle. This cycle begins with us, and we have the power to change it for the better.

photos by anna low-beer

opinion

BATHROOM CORRESPONDENCE


photo by oscar tiné

BEING LATINO AT BARD BY MILES RODRÍGUEZ

What does it mean to be Latino at Bard? Latino students on a panel I recently helped organize answered the question as being from a Latin American country versus being from the US but of Latin American ancestry. They also responded in terms of feeling at home at Bard or not. Their answers about Latino identity mean that Bard must become more of a home for Latino students. The Bard community, Latino students included, must make a more concerted effort to understand and care about Latino issues to both enrich the community and ensure the success of its Latino students. The panel, called “Latinidad: Latin@ Student Identity @ Bard,” was part of Semana Latina or Latin Week, a week of events which celebrated Latino culture in the US and at Bard. It was organized by students, faculty and staff involved with groups like the International Student Organization (ISO), the Latin American Student Organization (LASO), the Spanish-language community project and publication, La Voz, the Difference and Media Project (DMP), and the Justice for Farmworkers Campaign, as well as the Spanish and Latin American & Iberian Studies (LAIS) programs. The week’s events ranged from the words of the week’s main luminary, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Junot Díaz, to the infectious rhythms, vibes, and melodies of the NYC Afro-Caribbean salsa and jazz band, La Familia. Between these lyrical and musical expressions, the week of celebration allowed Bard campus to pause to hear and reflect on the voices of Latino (mostly Latina women) students. The six panelists were of all different years at Bard, with family backgrounds in both the US and distinct Latin American countries, and of the visibly different eth-

nic and racial intermixtures of Latinos in the US. Their words were often surprising and always poignant. They invoked deep genealogies of multicultural hybridity and difference as well as more recent and transformative life moments. As they spoke about how these complexities have played out for them at Bard, they identified two major kinds of Latino experiences at Bard. One was being born in the US with parents or ancestors from a Latin American country. The other was being born in a Latin American country and having migrated as a child or come to Bard directly from abroad as an international student. In some ways, students from these very different backgrounds felt little or no relation to one another and tended to gravitate toward two camps, USborn and Latin American-born, with greater or lesser connection to the specific Latin American nation providing their family background. Despite their different backgrounds and the variety of different ways they engage Latino-related issues, the students on the panel noticed a tendency toward convergence, for many of these differences to dissolve while at Bard. In what some of the panelists considered a very homogenous and a sometimes unwelcoming environment, they started to develop something of a common identity which they revealed as an issue of Bard and home. One student articulated a lack of belonging at Bard as well as at home. She also found extraordinary but conflicting demands for success in both environments. Many of the students discovered unexpected problems at home, which they sometimes equated with a kind of rejection or distancing by their families and communities.

Being at Bard turned others to revalorize and learn more about their home, family and cultural background and to get involved in the different organizations supporting these goals. Their time at Bard brought them closer to home and brought home closer to them. There is no one way of being Latino, at Bard or anywhere. Because of its Latin American roots and multiple ways of negotiating US and Latin American identities in the US, being Latino is always hybrid, heterogeneous, and complex. Latino students at Bard gave witness to this heterogeneity in their discussion about differences between US and Latin American-born Latinos but also found certain commonalities through their responses to the problem of home and belonging. Bard had become a home for them, but not fully, because they didn’t feel they belonged as much as they might have. This is not the only kind of Latino experience at Bard, but the panelists demonstrated that it is a very important aspect of Latino student identity at the college. Its very verbalization in a public forum was a critical way of improving their experience and preparing a transformation of their identity. This is not enough. More and different kinds of discussions and events like this must take place. That’s not enough either. Latino and other Bard students, faculty, staff, administration, and community members must work harder to understand and care about Latino issues and to make Bard more of a home and a place of belonging for its Latino students. The strength and well-being of the Bard community and of its Latino students depends on it.


31 opinion

Bard is a pressure cooker. Angst, depression, and alienation are not phases for many Bard students—they are states of being. Some of these feelings are unavoidable due to biochemistry, ancestry and circumstance. To ignore Bard’s culture and ethos in exacerbating these problems, however, is naïve. These problems have tangible effects. We have the lowest six year graduation rate of the top 50 liberal arts colleges (except for United States Air Force Academy, who we’re tied with). Our counseling center is overflowing and the number of medicated students--either officially or unofficially--is staggering. In a community, alienation is a force of chaos driving people apart. Alienated people separate from the community. They become anxious and apathetic. These people have trouble stepping outside of themselves to make connections and communicate. One sophomore said, of Bard’s culture, “It’s not terrible, it’s just, like weird.” Bard is weird. Weird in the way that people aren’t friendly (ask an international student). Weird in that you are more likely to become friends with new people at a friendly bar in NYC than at SMOG. Weird in the way that only those certain types of “weird” are accepted. This weirdness fractures our community. These cultural forces are nothing new. Kafka’s writings in the beginning of the 20th cen-

created) by the postmodern flavor of Bard’s academics. Nietzsche, Derrida, and Lacan are all writers who redefined philosophy to be a self-referential art, viciously attacking truth and collectivism in the process. Individualism, perspectivism, and nihilism are all that remains after this attack upon and “the truth.” The postmodern movement is important and has its merits, but the Bard community has too easily accepted the existential crisis brought about by these great thinkers. Many have come to almost think of themselves as pieces of art, necessitating a removal from the community that only creates unrelated groups. Communicating and socializing—the cornerstones of community—outside of a small circle are stigmatized. Think that sounds crazy? Remember that time you said hi to someone only to find out that you actually were invisible for the five seconds you passed each other? Or, more generally, where do students go to meet other students? (Aside from having random, drunk sex after SMOG and then saying, “So, um, do you want to hang out tomorrow?”) The answer is they don’t. The point here is we are all, in some way, responsible for the unfortunate state of affairs. Yes, there are some great things about Bard culture, but the nihilism, apathy, and awkward-

BARD’S EXISTENTIAL CRISIS BY LENNY SIMON

tury epitomized the newly found alienation fundamental to the human soul today: “A sensation of anxiety and shame whose center cannot be located and therefore cannot be placated; a sense of an infinite difficulty within things…; a sensitivity acute beyond usefulness,” wrote John Updike in the preface to Kafka’s “Complete Stories.” There is a sense—one that has often been repeated to me—that people enjoy victimizing themselves. That masochism inhabits the unknowable “center” quoted above. It is a rich place, full of texture and creativity, but many become lost there, displacing one’s ability to connect. Alienation, depression, and anxiety breed distrust and fracture communities. Robust cliques, “cool” indifference, and an exclusionary aesthetic create a social experience that is confined to small, distinct groups. Bard is a place of creation, a place to think, to be original—even if that means wearing leggings with tie-dyed flowers and a blinding neon shirt. That’s great. The eccentricity and uniqueness of Bard should remain. But that same force of angst which paves the way for creativity and eccentricity leads to something else—something which is rotting Bard from the inside out. Creation requires distinction. At Bard, an ethos of individualism demands that every student is novel, from the way they dress to the things they say. This is reinforced (and in part

ness have destroyed the public sphere, the community. Just look at the controversy surrounding the student president elections one year ago. In a community full of brilliant artists, writers, musicians, and scientists, the loss from alienation is that much greater. It doesn’t have to be this way. Socializing is not synonymous with awkward. Remember L&T? When Bard students of all different stripes (yes, your bullshit detector should be going off) sat down to learn more about each other and discuss their shared experience? That is what Bard could be. And it’s what Bard thinks it is: recently, a senior at Bard told me she overheard an admissions counselor saying, “at other schools there may be outcasts but not at Bard. Everyone here is so accepting and nurturing.” Though this isn’t technically true—maybe she meant that at Bard, we’re all outcasts—it does inform us about how Bard ought to be. Uniqueness and individuality should not trump communication and authenticity; these concepts should co-exist. The individual is the essential building block of any society, but when the individual becomes the measure of all things, we become estranged, not enhanced and/or supported, from one another. Humans are, by definition, social creatures. There is no individual on an island, destined to create a primordial culture. There is just us, and there should be more of it.


RE: BARD TWEETS Jimmy Russel ‫@‏‬IAMTYLERPERRY4 Should I savagely beat my roommate for breaking kosher? RT=yes, favorite=no Megan Smillie ‫@‏‬meganisabitch I have a pretty intense snapchat relationship with a ~13 year old that I’ve never met Austen Hinkley @austenhinkley :•) Quinn Moreland ‫ @‏‬quinnmoreland “help” i made “too many” muffins Beardkins ‫@‏‬beardkins I’m getting way to comfortable just chillin’ in a rehearsal skirt. #TheBakkhai #ComeSeeMeGetKilled Claire Bunschoten ‫@‏‬lilscones 2h There’s this kid in the library who doesn’t appear to be doing any work but just seems to be staring at everyone. TWIABPAIANLATD ‫ @‏‬twiabp4 Bard college makes SUNY Purchase look like a bunch of sports fans Maile Hamilton ‫ @‏‬notlikecyrus “My Stable Family Ruined My Writing Career (and other essays),” a senior project by Maile Hamilton 666ButtsRule420 ‫ @‏‬666Dandy666 Do you want 2 kno a secret ok here u go I hit myself in the balls with my phone on accident 2day it hurt a lot

www.bardfreepress.com

April 2013  

Annandale-on-Hudson, NY • April 2013 • Volume XIV Issue 7

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